An NHL source tells us the Flyers were never a serious player in the sweepstakes for Atlanta superstar winger Ilya Kovalchuk, a potential unrestricted free agent after the season who was dealt to New Jersey Wednesday night.
Kovalchuk, who has 31 goals, turned down two mega offers from the Thrashers (12-years for $101 million, and seven years for $70 million), causing Atlanta to send him to the Devils _ and strengthening one of the Flyers' top rivals.
Atlanta had shown interest in Flyers' wingers James van Riemsdyk and Scott Hartnell, along with defenseman Braydon Coburn. Hartnell has a no-trade clause.
Instead, the Thrashers will receive defenseman Johnny Oduya, rookie forward Niclas Bergfors, junior prospect Patrice Cormier and New Jersey's first-round pick in the 2010 draft. Defenseman Anssi Salmela, traded by the Devils to the Thrashers last March for Niclas Havelid, will return to New Jersey as part of the deal. The teams will also flip second-round picks.