Get Ready to See More of Ilya Kovalchuk (in a Devils Uniform)

Get Ready to See More of Ilya Kovalchuk (in a Devils Uniform)

If you've been tracking the trade rumors involving Ilya Kovalchuk, chances are you know that a few hours ago, a trade was finalized that would send the sniper to New Jersey for a package of Johnny Oduya, Niclas Bergfors, Patrice Cormier, and their 2010 first round pick. Former Devil Anssi Salmela will head to Jersey as well. 

So what's this mean to us? The first wave of impact for most Flyers fans will be that the Devils, who've routinely given our teams fits for more than a decade, just added a forward who is more talented than any they've ever had. 

They still have Marty Brodeur and a sound defensive system—a combination that has produced the lowest goals-against total in the NHL so far this season. And now, they also have the guy who has scored the second most goals in the league since the lockout, behind only Alex Ovechkin. Offense was an area in which the Devils were somewhat lacking, particularly lately. They just addressed that situation in as big a way possible, and they didn't give up all that much to rent or test-drive Kovy. 

I won't pretend to be an expert in the Devils' younger players and prospects, but here's their end of the deal as I understand it. Bergfors, a rookie whose stats we've seen alongside JVR's in the freshman scoring races, was off to a good start this season, but he's walled out somewhat recently. A pending RFA after this season, he's expected to develop into a nice player, and his name also indicates that he plays Peter Forsberg's foil in Bizarro World. Oduya was rewarded with a new contract last off-season but hasn't been too great in an injury-affected 09-10. He currently has just 4 points and a plus-2 rating after putting up 29 with a plus-21 last season. And the high prospect Cormier? Well, maybe he'll have a different kind of impact next season. Not long ago, Cormier was best known as Team Canada's captain in the World Juniors; now he's a popular hit on YouTube. The Devils' first-round pick will probably be toward the end of the round. 

Yes, sadly, this looks like a good trade for the Devils, even if they can't re-sign Kovalchuk after this season when he becomes a FA. Any speculation as to whether he'll be in Jersey beyond this year is probably premature. But, although the price will be high (he just turned down Thrashers' extension offers, one of which was said to average $10 million per season, representing the NHL's most lucrative annual salary), it's still possible. 

The trade was wisely primarily about this season for New Jersey though. Martin Brodeur has been their biggest meal ticket since the days of Chris Terreri's funky facemask, and they need to get in any legitimate Cup runs they can while they still have the best goalie in the history of the sport. 

And guess what! We'll get to see Devils+aBonaFideScorer in a home and home series next week—at the Wach on Monday and in Jerz on Wednesday. 

Although the Flyers were said to be an interested party in the Kovalchuk sweepstakes, it doesn't sound like it ever go too far. This shouldn't come as much of a surprise given the cap constraints the team has been up against for a few seasons, the contract Kovy has now, and the massive numbers he wants in the future. But Kevin Allen, the USA Today writer who broke this huge trade story, says that the Flyers were never willing to give up Jeff Carter or James vanRiemsdyk. 

Carter is under contract, and at a relatively manageable number. His stats this season haven't held up to the standard he set last season, when he actually scored more goals than Kovalchuk (by a margin of three goals, while having played three more games). However, that output has been at least the norm for Kovy, who already has 31 goals this season, versus the exception for Carter. But the bigger point here is that the Flyers were nothing more than a storyline in all of this, which was true of a handful of teams. Maybe they helped spike the price for the Devils, but it doesn't appear to have been by much. 

The biggest point is that the Devils are a more dangerous threat than they were yesterday, and just in time for two matchups with the Flyers. This was the ah-shit scenario for Flyers fans, as well as the other Eastern Conference contenders. You really would have liked the weather in LA, Ilya. Please be sure to visit California before you sign your next contract.   

TicketIQ: Affordable seats available to see Sixers face marquee opponents

TicketIQ: Affordable seats available to see Sixers face marquee opponents

Editor's Note: The following is sponsored content written by TicketIQ.

The improvements have been obvious for the 76ers this season. Just months removed from a franchise-worst 10-72 record, the Sixers have begun to see return on their rebuild with rookie Joel Embiid leading the charge.
 
December will be a big month for the team as it looks to rise in the Eastern Conference. Attending an upcoming game won’t come attached with big ticket prices, either. With several marquee opponents headed to Wells Fargo Center over the next four weeks, including the Lakers, Celtics and Raptors, fans can find relatively inexpensive ticket prices on the resale market all month long.
 
On TicketIQ, a ticket search engine that pools tickets and data from over 90 percent of the resale market, the average resale price for 76ers tickets in December is just $58. That makes December among the cheapest months to see the Sixers this season.

 
With the Lakers in town for a December 16 game, it will be the only 76ers home game this month that commands an average resale price above $100. On TicketIQ, 76ers vs Lakers tickets own a $112 average and the most inexpensive are listed from $27 each. It will be the Lakers’ sole visit to Philadelphia this season.
 
The Celtics will be the Sixers’ second most expensive opponent this month, but their December 3 visit is currently averaging nearly half the price the Lakers are seeing when they’re in town two weeks later. As it stands now the average resale price for tickets against the Celtics is $69 with a get-in price of $13.
 
The Nets, Pelicans and Raptors are all generating similar demand for their respective stops in Philadelphia later this month. With all three teams visiting over a six-day period between December 14 and 20, no game will average over $55 on the secondary market. Tickets start from as low as $7 each to when Anthony Davis and the Pelicans come to town on the 20th.
 
For those fans with interest in attending the most inexpensive games at Wells Fargo Center this month, the struggling Orlando Magic and Denver Nuggets will serve as the most affordable opponents to see in action in December. The Magic play the Sixers on Friday night, where last-minute 76ers vs. Magic tickets are averaging $43. Their next home game against the Nuggets have an average resale price of just $35.