Some have said that a deal to Philadelphia would only be for Kovalchuk as a rental, and that while there are obvious down sides to that, the secondary effect would be that the salary cap woes the Flyers currently face would essentially evaporate. Paul Holmgren and company would then have a lot more freedom in re-tooling the team this offseason.
The popular opinion, however, seems to be that while Kovalchuk is clearly a great player, he's also a defensive liability, and that it's not a guarantee that he would help the team in their chase for the playoffs and a Stanley Cup this season. Moreover, since just about every major, tradeable roster player has a no-trade or no-movement clause in his contract, it would take a number of solid prospects to get a deal done, seriously gambling with the future of the franchise.
It seems that the Flyers have made that realization. From CSNPhilly.com:
The Flyers, according to team sources, are "all but out" of the Ilya Kovalchuk sweepstakes.
Team sources have told CSNPhilly.com that signing Kovalchuk would "mortgage our future" beyond what the club is willing to pay. The all-star winger is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent after this season.
Most of us probably had this figured out long before this report tonight, and that made it all the more confusing that numerous sources lately have said that the Flyers have still been in discussions for Kovalchuk.
We do know that he will be traded for sure, a fact we learned earlier today. At least now we know he won't be traded here.