The winger may not be on pace for his usual 40-plus goal season, and the New Jersey Devils are struggling to get out of the bottom of the league standings.
The Bruins showed interest in Kovalchuk when Atlanta put him on the trading block last season, but he went to the Devils for their first- and second-round picks in the 2010 draft, along with a few players.
What if the Bruins had been the ones who got Kovalchuk? Would it have been worth it to give up the pick that eventually landed Tyler Seguin?
Seguin is just beginning his NHL career, but the fact that the 18-year-old already has three goals and three assists in 14 games shows that he could be in the league for a long time. Bruins fans have already fallen in love with the young center, chanting “Thank you, Kessel” when Seguin scored against Phil Kessel‘s Maple Leafs, a celebration of the fact that the Kessel trade brought that No. 2 overall pick to Boston.
Anyone who has seen Kovalchuk play this season knows that he still has the talent to score 40 goals this season, having several chances that he’s been absolutely robbed on, including one great save by Tim Thomas.
His embarrassing shootout “attempt” against the Sabres on Nov. 10 was a low point for the forward, but he made up for it in New Jersey’s next game by scoring the game-winning goal in overtime.
Still, Kovalchuk has caused quite a few headaches since landing in New Jersey. He couldn’t help the Devils, the second-ranked team in the East, get out of the first round of the playoffs last spring, and his contract drama that took nearly the entire summer to settle was an unnecessary distraction. Now, the Devils owe him $100 million over the next 15 years.
There’s no doubt that it’s just a matter of time before Kovalchuk starts scoring more consistently, but would it have been worth it for the Bruins to lose Seguin and gain the salary-cap problems that come with Kovalchuk?