The Atlanta Thrashers are trying their best to lock up franchise player Ilya Kovalchuk to a long-term contract, and the saga took another turn on Monday as general manager Don Waddell said contract negotiations between both sides have hit a "snag."
"Our position is different than his position right now," Waddell explained to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "Their position is fixed years with money and we have a different side of that.
"That's what we have to work through. We've gotten through every thing else, now we have to make it through that."
Waddell said he remained optimistic that a new deal would get done and added that talks would resume after the holidays.
According to the Journal-Constitution, Kovalchuk's agent Jay Grossman met with Waddell in Atlanta over the weekend to continue talks. Kovalchuk is scheduled to become a free agent on July 1.
Should the two sides fail to come to terms on a new deal, Waddell could be tempted to trade Kovalchuk in the same manner that he did with pending free agent Marian Hossa two seasons ago.
"It's a business," Kovalchuk told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "I think every player goes through that. It's the first time for me. It's (management's) decision, but I like everything here. Like I've said a lot of times, I want to play with one team all my life, but you never know."
Kovalchuk, drafted first overall by Atlanta in 2001, is the team's all-time leader in goals, assists and points.
Written with files from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.