assuming both healthy, and for balej and 2nd rounder
who would you rather have?
I don't think Satan would have been available for Balej and a 2nd rounder because he won't be a UFA. He would have cost the Habs more in prospects/choices. Gainey had to consider the cost to the Habs in lookinjg for a deal.
Kovalev for sure. He is the hardest player to stop one on one in the league, and he can get you those goals, when goals are hard to come by. He is also the best natural skater in the league, and he has a wicked shot. I'd take Kovalev any day or Satan!
Sabres would never deal Satan to their divisional rival for reasonable price, but for the sake of argument: Kovalev.
Slightly less talent maybe, but much better filled out to complement Habs top lines.
Key thing is Kovalev and Habs are free to walk away each other if/when their views on his salary dont meet, giving some freedom. Satan makes his 5M next year.