NHL Trade Rumors: Will Ilya Kovalchuk's Injury Lead to a New Jersey Devils Deal?

Joseph KuchieCorrespondent IMarch 25, 2013

NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 23:  Ilya Kovalchuk #17 of the New Jersey Devils skates off the ica after suffering an injury in the third period against the Florida Panthers at the Prudential Center on March 23, 2013 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

According to Tom Gulitti, Ilya Kovalchuk's MRI today showed no further damage to his injured shoulder and the winger is expected to miss 2-4 weeks.

Devils say MRI on Kovalchuk's shoulder didn't show anything different than the X-ray, so 2-4 week projection for his recovery remains same.

— Tom Gulitti (@TGfireandice) March 25, 2013

Best case scenario, Kovalchuk misses two weeks and potentially returns on either April 10 or April 12. Worst case, which seems to be the way injuries have gone for the Devils this year, Kovalchuk could only be healthy for the final two games of the season.

With multiple players banged up and the team holding onto a playoff spot by only four points, is it time for GM Lou Lamoriello to make a move?

The Devils recently acquired Matt D'Agostini from the St. Louis Blues for a conditional draft pick and he is expected to replace Kovalchuk for the time being. However, D'Agostini was only projected as a third line, possibly second-line wing for the remainder of the season and isn't really seen as a top-six forward.

The trade market is starting to grow thin as the deadline approaches, as Corey Perry signed an extension with the Anaheim Ducks and the Dallas Stars traded Brenden Morrow to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The top name on the market right now is Calgary Flames star Jarome Iginla, but he has given a short list of teams he'd be interested in joining and the Devils are not one of them. While you may never know what could happen at the deadline, Iginla seems to be looking for a big market with a chance to win.

Jerome Iginla has submitted a list of 4 teams he'd consider be traded to - Chicago, Pittsburgh, LA and Boston.

— dave ciardullo (@DaveyCiar) March 25, 2013

A name that comes to mind for the Devils is Jaromir Jagr. While adding another aging veteran to the league's oldest team may seem ridiculous, Jagr has proven he can still hang with the league's best.

Jagr, 41, has 24 points in 30 games this season including seven goals in 10 games this month. He has also been red-hot the past three games, recording one goal in each game including the game-winning goal against Los Angeles last Thursday.

New Jersey has roughly $11 million in cap space, meaning they could easily take on Jagr's $4.5 million for the rest of the season. However, with barely any draft picks left for the 2013 NHL draft, the Devils would have to trade a player for Jagr's services.

The player most easily compliant with a trade is Henrik Tallinder, who has only played in 14 games this season. Tallinder is scheduled to make $3.5 million between this year and next year, meaning the Devils would really only take on an extra $1 million this season.

Peter Harrold has come on strong between the playoffs and this season and is beginning to earn a consistent role in the lineup. With five other defensemen in the lineup and Mark Fayne also capable of starting, the Devils could move Tallinder for Jagr if necessary.

Granted, the Devils would likely have to throw in another young forward for the Stars to have any interest in this trade, but if New Jersey wants to keep their playoff hopes alive, they are going to need to find a winger to replace the injured Kovalchuk right away.

Jagr has the playoff experience and still has the skill to compete as a top-six forward, and if the Devils can somehow land him, their offense will get a lot more complex.

While players like Travis Zajac, Patrik Elias, and David Clarkson are talented enough to carry a team, they could use another goal scorer to keep pace with the East's best.

The Penguins and Rangers have both been busy this week, so maybe it's time for the Devils to get involved with the market.