http://www.stltoday.com/blogzone/mornin ... ays-trade/
Blues President John Davidson acknowledged Thursday night that the club had “legitimate interest” in trading for Ilya Kovalchuk before the star forward was dealt to New Jersey earlier in the day.”We had been working at it for the better part of the week,” Davidson said. “We had great conversations with Atlanta. We talked to them about various thoughts and ideas and put (a trade proposal) together. It never came to fruition.”
The Devils acquired Kovalchuk from Atlanta in exchange for defenseman Johnny Oduya, rookie forward Niclas Bergfors, junior prospect Patrice Cormier and a first-round draft pick this year.
Davidson said the Thrashers were asking for “a piece or two that we weren’t willing to give up, especially knowing that Kovalchuk is, for now, a rental player.”
Kovalchuk, who was the No. 1 overall pick by Altanta in 2001, is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent this summer, meaning he can sign elsewhere if New Jersey doesn’t reach an extension with him before July 1.
“When you make a deal like that, if it’s really a magnitude coming out of your bank account, you’ve got to try to make sure that he signs,” Davidson said. “And that (permission to discuss a contract extension before a trade) was never given to any team that was in the battle trying to get him. So we just couldn’t afford to go the extra mile.”
Davidson said had the Blues been able to successfully negotiate an extension with Kovalchuk, who will turn 27 in April, they would have been more apt to make a deal.
“It would have been a heck of a lot easier to give up a lot if you knew he was going to stay here,” he said. “But you can’t give up a ton and then have Ilya not be here come July 1. You’re just starting from behind again, as a franchise.”
When asked if the Blues were scared off by a report that Kovalchuk turned down a 12-year, $101 million contract extension, Davidson said: “I’m not going to go there because we never got into numbers. I can’t go there.”
It remains to be seen if the Blues will have continued interest in Kovalchuk this summer, should the Devils not be able to resign him. Davidson said he couldn’t comment.
“I can’t say anything because (New Jersey) owns him now,” he said.