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Thrashers send Kovalchuk to Devils

Ilya Kovalchuk is flying out of Atlanta.

The Thrashers' captain is headed to the New Jersey Devils. The Devils will send defenseman Johnny Oduya, forwards Niclas Bergfors and Patrice Cormier and a first-round draft pick to the Thrashers for Kovalchuk and defenseman Anssi Salmela.

Trade rumors took off after Atlanta general manager Don Waddell insisted the team couldn't meet Kovalchuk's demands for a maximum NHL contract. According to Waddell, the Thrashers were aggressively exploring all of their options in an attempt to trade him before the March 3 deadline.

Earlier Thursday, Waddell reportedly said Kovalchuk turned down a 12-year, $101 million offer. Kovalchuk is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent July 1.

Since the Thrashers drafted him No. 1 overall in 2001, Kovalchuk leads the NHL with 328 goals, but Atlanta, an expansion team that debuted in 1999-2000, has made just one playoff appearance and has never won a postseason game.

He was in his second season as captain for a team that is 11th in the Eastern Conference with 56 points. Three teams are tied for the eighth and final playoff spot with 57 points.

The NHL has changed the schedule for teams to make roster moves because of the break for the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Teams are forbidden to make any transactions from 3 p.m. on Feb. 12 to just before midnight on Feb. 28.

-- The Associated Press contributed to this report.