Trade talks between the Thrashers and several teams involving star Ilya Kovalchuk have heated up over the last few days, according to two people familiar with the situation.
Thrashers general manager Don Waddell had no comment other than to say that the franchise and Kovalchuk’s agent, Jay Grossman, have not talked in more than a week. Both sides currently have proposals on the table that differ in salary and length of contract.
Kovalchuk, the franchise’s all-time leader in games, points, goals and assists, becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
Waddell was in Philadelphia last week scouting the Flyers and Islanders. It also has been reported recently that both the Kings and Bruins are interested in obtaining Kovalchuk.
Several NHL teams, including the Flames and the Rangers, have also cleared salary cap space recently, which would facilitate big-contract negotiations.
NHL rosters freeze on Feb. 14 for the two-week Olympic break. The trade deadline is three days after the freeze on March 3.
Waddell has previously stated that he will no longer comment on negotiations with Kovalchuk.