Atlanta forward has bright future

Nothing has slowed down Ilya Kovalchuk, who leads the league with 10 goals and 15 points.

Updated: October 28, 2003, 1:19 PM ET
By By Jim Wilkie | NHL Insider
As if Atlanta's Ilya Kovalchuk isn't scary enough with a league-leading 10 goals and 15 points in 10 games to start the season, opponents should see even more of him in what's looking like the Thrasher left-winger's breakout year to superstardom.

Because of a new commitment to two-way play under Thrashers head coach Bob Hartley, Kovalchuk has been getting increased ice time. And who can argue with the results? Kovalchuk has scored 38.5 percent of Atlanta's 26 goals and had a hand in 57.7 percent of them.

"Any more ice time and I'd have had to put him in net," Hartley joked to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution after Kovalchuk logged an ordinary, for him, 21 minutes and 9 seconds in a 4-2 victory over Nashville on Thursday night. "I'm not sure that he'd like that."