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Kovalchuk Asking Price Revealed, Canadiens Unsure About Trade

What are the Montreal Canadiens going to do with Ilya Kovalchuk? If they trade him, we now know the asking price.

The moment the Montreal Canadiens picked up Ilya Kovalchuk, there were questions about what the Habs long-term play was. Would Kovalchuk be used as a risk-free way to see if Montreal could squeeze into a playoff spot? Did the Candiens actually figure he could be a player that stuck around? Maybe he was going to perform well and the Canadiens could move him at the deadline for an asset of value?

After Kovalchuk joined the team and started lighting the lamp, all of those scenarios became possibilities.

Today, after 9 points in 11 games, Kovalchuk gives the Canadiens options, perhaps the most likely of which is trading the veteran winger.

According to Pierre LeBrun, belief from some teams is that the price to rent out Kovalchuk is no less than a second-round draft pick. That’s pretty good considering the Habs picked him up when no one else wanted him and for the NHL’s league-minimum salary. While it’s hard to know if a team would be willing to part with a second-round pick to acquire Kovalchuk, there’s no harm in Montreal asking considering their second option is to keep him around.

What About Extending Kovalchuk?

LeBrun is also hearing the Canadiens have discussed wanting to extend Kovalchuk because they see him as a positive impact both on ice and in the room. And, why not? In his first media interviews with the Canadiens, you got the sense he’d been with the team for years. He looked at home, he seemed happy and he was making an impact. Sure, the Canadiens are a ways outside the playoff picture, but it’s not because of Kovalchuk. He’s been one of the few consistent contributors since his arrival.

With three weeks to go before Feb. 24, the Kovalchuk story will be one to watch. As the Canadiens are rumored to be sellers, what exactly will they sell? As players come off the trade bait board and Kovalchuk becomes more attractive, what will a team be willing to give to land him?

Related: Should Bruins Think About Trading David Krejci?

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