He's not a Flyer, but we will be seeing a lot of him over the next few months.
Ilya Kovalchuk has been traded from the Atlanta Thrashers to the New Jersey Devils along with defenseman Anssi Salmela and Atlanta's 2010 second round pick. Heading south are defenseman Johnny Oduya, winger Nicklas Bergfors, prospect Patrice Cormier (of season-long suspension fame) and New Jersey's first and second round picks this season.
For a rental player that may or may not be in New Jersey after this July, it seems the Devils didn't give up too much, although the Thrashers certainly get some nice pieces in return.
Basically, the Devils just traded a talented defenseman who has been underperforming after signing his big contract with the team in the past summer (Oduya), a rookie forward who has hit the wall in the worst way and hasn't been able to get back on track in over a month (Bergfors), a prospect center who's been suspended for elbowing a player in the face and had upside of a two-way center to begin with (Cormier), and a first round pick that will be late anyway. All this for one of the best pure snipers in hockey.
Lou Lamoriello rules.
The Flyers have a home-and-home series with the Devils next week, so it'll be interesting to see how they welcome him to the division. He's obviously a dynamic player -- top five in the game today, probably -- and he clearly gives the Devils the offensive boost they need. The biggest question to me is how does Kovalchuk, a weak defensive player to say the least, fit into the defense-first style of hockey New Jersey employs?