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So Kovalchuk is officially in play, and I can confirm this first hand as I was at the Kings/Leafs game tonight as a member of the media. Ten NHL scouts were at this game, including Mr. Bob Gainey himself, as well as representitives from the Flames and Rangers, among others.
The Thrashers asking price is too high for the Kings at the moment, but what do you expect? The Thrashers are going to start out by asking for as much as possible, and will ask for a little less starting at about 2 pm on March 3rd. With that said, don't be surprised if a team pays the maximum price in order to insure they get Kovalchuk.
While prior to tonight I would have told you that the Kings would be crazy to bring in Kovalchuk, this team is for real and has enough depth where losing a few prospects for Kovy wouldn't hurt them that bad.
What were some of the other scouts looking at? Talking to people tonight, the rumours are that the Habs were scouting LA, most likely Frolov. The Flames were scouting Toronto, I'm hearing they have significant interest in Hagman. The Rangers, well not totally sure about that one.
Sticking with the Rangers, they are looking for a veteran goalie to back up Lundqvist, and may look to their neighbours in the New York Islanders. Lundqvist is their guy, but if he were to ever get hurt, the team would go nowhere with the rookie goaltenders they've been calling up and down as of late. Biron isn't playing on the Island, and wouldn't play much with the Rangers, but one or two games is better than nothing.
I'm also hearing the Leafs are hoping to make two moves before the Olympic freeze. Ponikarovsky is all but assured to be gone, while I'm hearing both Ian White and Matt Stajan have been asked how much it would cost to keep them. If either answer was too high, Burke planned to move them. A few weeks ago I would have told you Ian White was untouchable, but I'm not so sure now, especially with Gunnarsson playing as well as he has.
While Gainey was for sure looking at the Kings, he may have some interest in dealing with Toronto. Not only was he at tonight's game, but he was at the Marlies game this past weekend. With that said, the Marlies were playing Montreal's AHL affiliate, the Bulldogs.
The Bruins continue to have an eye on Ray Whitney, who I think makes a lot of sense for this team. He would be a great role model for a lot of their young guys. Also, I know for a fact that Bruins intend to keep Toronto's first pick, but have no problem dealing their own pick if the right deal came along.
The Oilers lost again tonight, only a matter of time before they start shipping bodies out. Souray's given his list of teams he'd accept a trade to. San Jose, LA, Anaheim, Vancouver and Colorado were on it, among a few unknown others.
Finally, if Thomas Kaberle is available, count the Vancouver Canucks in.
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