Ilya Kovalchuk sent to New Jersey from Atlanta for players, draft pick

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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ATLANTA - Ilya Kovalchuk has been traded to the New Jersey Devils, matching one of the Eastern Conference's top teams with one of the game's most dangerous snipers.
The Atlanta Thrashers felt forced to trade their captain after failing to re-sign him and received Niclas Bergfors, Johnny Oduya and prospect Patrice Cormier and a first-round pick from the Devils on Thursday night.
Kovalchuk was drafted first overall by Atlanta in 2001 and leads the NHL with 328 goals since then. New Jersey also received defenceman Anssi Salmela in the deal.
However, the Thrashers made just one playoff appearance with him. Atlanta GM Don Waddell says the team offered Kovalchuk a 12-year extension worth more than US$101 million.
The 26-year-old is still slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
The move comes less than two weeks before Kovalchuk will play for Russia at the Vancouver Olympics.

Organizations: New Jersey Devils, Atlanta Thrashers, NHL Vancouver Olympics

Geographic location: Atlanta, New Jersey, Russia

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