Tony’s Take – The Alex Kovalev Trade / Marek Svatos Pick-Up

The Ottawa Senators traded forward Alex Kovalev to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a conditional 2011 7th round draft pick. The pick can turn into a 2011 6th round draft pick  if Kovalev and the Penguins win a round and he plays in at least 50% of the games. Ottawa also claimed forward Marek Svatos off waivers from Nashville.

Here’s my take on the two moves:

On the Kovalev trade, a 7th round draft pick is the lowest possible return (besides giving him away for free) they could have gotten for him. Ottawa got more in the Jarkko Ruutu  trade! I think teams know what Ottawa is doing here and knew that Kovalev who should be worth at least a 3rd or 4th round pick (based on his resume), could be had for on the cheap. Ottawa got the best they could in this trade. They move Kovalev’s money off the books and give a chance for their young guys to get more playing time in the NHL.

What the Penguins get is a motivated veteran for the playoff run. With Pittsburgh decimated by injuries, Kovalev adds some skill to their line-up that has lost some much. Kovi is also playing for a contract next year, so I expect Kovalev to have a good stretch run here and turn it on in the playoffs. And who knows, Kovi played some of his best hockey here playing alongside Jason Spezza, so imagine what he could do if he gets to play wing with Sidney Crosby.

Here’s a video of GM Byran Murray  talking about the Kovalev trade. He also touches on the Svatos claim and the Chris Phillips  contract situation. (video courtesy of SensTV)

On the Marek Svatos  claim, Ottawa had two reasons for this move. One, with all the trades and injuries to the forwards, Ottawa needed NHL ready bodies to fill in. They have already taken so much from their AHL afilitiate, the Binghamton Senators who are in a tight playoff race. So this move was so they did not have to call up any more players.

Secondly, Ottawa gets to scout Svatos for the last 20 games or so to see if he can still cut it in this league. Svatos began the year playing in Russia, then was claimed in the waiver process by Nashville. However, an injury limited his games this season. Svatos has been injury prone his whole career, never having suited up for more than 69 games in any NHL season.  His career highs in goals (32) and points (50) were set in his rookie season of 2005-06. Coach Clouston also coached Svatos in junior and knows what he can bring.

With a limited amount of high impact scoring prospects in the system who are ready for next season, if Svatos can prove he still got something left, he could be an inexpensive project for next season. He has proven he can produce at this level before, and he is still young at 28 years old. If he can put together a solid run in the last 20 games or so, Svatos could be an option going forward to fill in a top nine forward role. I say put him with Spezza and see what he can do.

Here is a video of Coach Clouston  talking about Svatos and what he expects he can do. He also touches on the Kovalev trade and what went wrong. (video courtesy of SensTV)

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