Ilya Kovalchuk has been the best player in Atlanta Thrasher franchise history. Ilya Kovalchuk will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. How will the Atlanta Thrashers handle the likely loss of their best player? Do they trade him before the NHL trade deadline? That would trigger a likely end to any hope of contending for a playoff berth this season. Currently Atlanta sits four points back of eighth seed Montreal in the East Conference with three games in hand. They are currently mired in a slump where they have won only one of their last eleven games. Before it started, they looked like a sleeper team that could make some noise in a playoff run.There are plenty of reasons to imagine that Kovalchuk will not want to return to Atlanta. Atlanta is a franchise that has never won a...

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