According to several reports, Thrashers sniper Ilya Kovalchuk, the hottest prize on the NHL trade market, could be dealt as early as Wednesday night or by this weekend at the latest. RDS and TSN reported Wednesday afternoon that Thrashers GM Don Waddell told Kovalchuk "to expect a trade to another NHL team over the next few hours or days."
USA Today's Kevin Allen, on the other hand, reported via Twitter that the deal will not happen Wednesday night.
Whatever the timing, Kovalchuk and his agent, Jay Grossman, have apparently reached an impasse in talks with the Thrashers, who have long been hoping to re-sign the impending unrestricted free agent and now want to get the best deal possible for the two-time 50-goal scorer. They're hoping that a trade works out prior to the March 3 deadline, because the other alternative is letting him walk via free agency after the season.
"This could happen tonight, I'm not kidding," a source with direct knowledge of the situation told NESN.com Wednesday afternoon.
That source claimed that the Kings were the front-runners due to their plethora of young NHL prospects, amateur prospects and draft picks.
But this source also suggested that the Bruins were still very much in the mix and may already have submitted an offer.
ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun, though, wrote Wednesday night that the Bruins appear to be out of the chase for the Russian winger.
The other teams reportedly in the mix for Kovalchuk are the Blackhawks, Rangers, Devils and Flyers.
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