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Canadian Press
9/26/2006 5:29:08 PM

Wanted: Able-bodied centre who can feed Atlanta Thrashers 50-goal man Ilya Kovalchuk.

The top applicants are Steve Rucchin and Niko Kapanen with Jim Slater and Glen Metropolit also in the mix.

When Marc Savard left Atlanta for Boston this summer, he brought with him the team-high 69 assists that spear-headed the Thrashers attack last season and complemented Kovalchuk so well.

Complicating matters is that Thrashers head coach Bob Hartley is also trying to determine who will play centre on another scoring line with winger Marian Hossa after the underachieving Patrick Stefan was shipped to Dallas.

"We obviously lost 100 points with Marc Savard and that's a lot of points," Hartley said Wednesday from Atlanta. "But in the NHL, to go out and get a 100-point guy will cost you $5 million to $6 million, and with Hossa and Kovalchuk, we're not in a position to get another $5-million guy. So the way that we look at this with the players that we got, we feel it can be a joint effort to replace Savvy's 100 points while being a more responsible defensive hockey club."
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