Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

The Rat Trick Links: Sven Baertschi, Ilya Kovalchuk Returning, Ovechkin and Trotz

We could be in for a very active NHL draft this month, as not only could we see teams move draft picks around in order to move up and down the draft, we could see some big name players traded as well. A looks at two of those players, Jason Spezza and Ryan Kesler.

After being the first star to bolt to the KHL, rumors have it that Ilya Kovalchuk is already looking to make his return to the NHL after just one year in his home country. After asking for, and receiving the team’s ‘blessing’, Kovalchuk ‘retired’ last offseason only to sign a contract with a Russian team a week later.

If he does return, you can’t assume he will be welcomed back with open arms by people around the NHL. But seeing his team, the New Jersey Devils, just missed out on the playoffs the fan base could warm up to him quickly if he was to help his team win.

One of the more interesting headlines to keep an eye on going into next season will be the dynamic between Washington Capitals superstar Alexander Ovechkin and new head coach Barry Trotz. During his time with the Nashville Predators Trotz was known for imploring a defensive brand of hockey. Ovechkin has had his problems with playing on both sides of the ice, so in order for them to succeed they will have to learn to find a middle ground.

Flame for Thought takes a look at the potential of the Calgary Flames trading up for the first overall pick and a player who will likely be in a mix to be included in the package – Sven Baertschi. Adding him and either William Nylander and Nikolaj Ehlers (or the last member of the top four still remaining) will give the Florida Panthers two dynamic players.

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Tags: Alexander Ovechkin Florida Panthers Ilya Kovalchuk Sven Baertschi

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