Some roads in New Jersey are being renamed Kovalchuk Way.
Too bad they'll all be one way.
So, it's a done deal.
Kovalchuk is coming into the Penguins' backyard.
The Devils sent Johnny Oduya, Niclas Bergfors, Patrice Cormier, and a 1st-round pick to Atlanta.
All for a player they may not have in three months.
It is a big trade, but does this trade put New Jersey in the driver's seat of the Atlantic Division and the Eastern Conference? Nope.
It's definitely a gamble on a couple of fronts.
-- For one, the Devils as a team have the top GAA in the league at 2.24.
But they only average 2.54 goals per game, 18th in the league.
Statistically speaking, there's little room for error between a win and a loss.
So will Kovalchuk's scoring outweigh the loss of two cogs in the Devils' defensive machine?
Kovalcuk is a loser until proven otherwise.
Sure, he won some international shit, but this ain't the international stage.
See those columns on the right side?
That is how you are judged in the NHL.
-- And then there's the obvious gamble.
Devils GM Lou Lamarielelelo sending a gift bag to Atlanta for what could become a rent-a-player.
-- What about trying to re-sign Kovalchoo?
Kovalchuk turned down around $8million per season that would keep him in Atlanta.
Brodeur doesn't seem like someone who will stay around after he sucks.
Maybe the Devils know Brodeur wants another Cup before he retires.
In any event, here's New Jersey's cap outlook:
Talk about having a core through at least next season.
Add Kovalchuk to that...
The only glaring omission is a top-flight defenseman.
Bizarre as it may be, Paul Martin will probably want upwards of $4mill a year in a new contract.
The only way this might work for the Devils
is if they sign Kovalchoo to a long-term, back-loaded contract.
The Penguins are in sweet Lou's head.
Give us a healthy Crosby and Malkin each spring, and we'll take our chances.
The Devils found out last year that they actually need firepower in the playoffs now.
With Kovalchuk and Parise, they have something like that.
The Devils want to go for another Cup before their franchise goalie retires.
Solid move for the Devils here, considering their post-Brodeur outlook already looked bleak.
On the other hand, as good as Kovalchuk is, he now has to learn a new system, new teammates, etc.
Sorry, but it is a crapshoot to predict what he will do in the playoffs.
Compare this to the world champs.
Been in the Finals two straight years.
If Kovalchuk had to go somewhere in the East...
we're glad it's New Jersey and we're glad he didn't land in Washington.
Plus, the Devils traded that Bergfors dude, who had like 60 goals against the Pens.
The Pens have been chasing New Jersey all season for the Atlantic crown.
There's a reason the Devils are at the top of the Atlantic.
And there's a reason the Penguins have yet to beat them this season in 4 tries.
The Devils are solid, and this deal has made them more dangerous.
Even before this move,
it was going to be a three-way dance between the World Champs, Devils, and Caps.
Pens are 0-5 against those teams this year.
Obviously that is cause for concern.
Will Shero do something at the trade deadline? Yeah.
Will it be a blockbuster in response to Kovaldouche? No.
Ray Shero has made all the right moves since becoming GM.
Some people may point to the Hossa deal in response to that.
The Pens won the Cup the next year, and they aren't hurting from that deal at all.
Last we checked, Angelo Esposito runs a pizza parlor.
And if you're gonna point to something trivial like signing Nils Ekman, you're an idiot.
If you're gonna point to Satan, then you didn't know what you were watching last spring.
Some people will get on their high horse and try to job Shero.
It's an exercise in futility.
But as dangerous as the Caps are this year...
and as much as this deal improves the Devils...
To get to the Cup, the road goes through that large, broken-down silver dome on the hill.
Come get some.