Chicago- Would likely have to offer a combination of Patrick Sharp, Kris Versteeg, Cam Barker and a 1st round pick. I’m not sure I see this one happening. Chicago already has a ton of offense, and if they really want to make a cup run, I see them loading up for Scott Niedermayer. Chicago would also not be able to re-sign Kovalchuk because of their cap issues. Guys like Versteeg, Barker and Sharp would fetch much more individually.
Calgary- Similarly to the Bruins, they need offense. Calgary could trade Dion Phaneuf to the Thrashers, which would also give them cap room to sign Kovalchuk, but it doesn’t seem like Kovalchuk wants to play on a Canadian team because he wants out of the limelight. Phaneuf’s trade value also is at an all-time low. He is a sexy name that GM Don Wadell would want though.
Philadelphia- This one makes little to no sense. The Flyers have some cap issues anyways, and all their top guys have NTCs or NMCs, so a move would have to involve Jeff Carter, the only guy without one. Trading Carter could land him, but it wouldn’t make sense for Philly to trade Carter for 20 games of Kovalchuk and Carter is their best scorer anyways.
Vancouver- Not sure what it take from Vancouver, but it would have to include Ryan Kesler I believe. Again like Calgary, don’t see Kovalchuk re-signing there, and it would take a lot to get him.
New York Rangers- Two words. Wade Redden. They have cap issues, and don’t have much to trade. Unless Wade Redden’s contract magically disappears, no way it can happen.
New York Islanders- A rebuilding team with a bright future, makes no sense to disrupt that now. He also likely wouldn’t re-sign, so it would just set the franchise back.
Los Angeles- One of the teams heavily pursuing him. They have guys to trade, Jack Johnson, Wayne Simmonds to name a few, but I don’t see Dean Lombardi dealing them for a rental. He would make a move if he could get a signed Kovalchuk though.
Boston- Team needs offense, and unlike every other team, it has a top 3 pick in the draft to trade, although Peter Chiarelli said he won’t deal it. Kovalchuk is also familiar with center Marc Savard, which would no doubt interest him. The Bruins have the pieces to get him, it’s just a matter of if they could get him signed.
I rank my teams most likely to least likely…Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago, Calgary, Vancouver, Philadelphia, Isles, Rangers as most likely to get him.