You build around Plekanec. He was a major reason for us even getting a chance to get into the playoffs last year, and is a major reason we are good this year. He is a heart and soul kind of guy. Koivu 2.0.
If Gainey can get a young star to sign here (or by trade) like Hossa then that player would be the new cornerstone for the coming years along with Price/Komi/Higgins/Chipchura/Plek. Koivu and Kovalev have 2-3 yrs left at most imo.
Well you don't build this team around either....you use both of them on your top two lines but you build the team around Price - Komi - Markov
As for your summar of Kovalev, elite 40 goal scorer....while he is an elite talent, but he's only scored 40 once in his career and that was 5+ years ago.
Koivu and Kovalev contracts expire next year and they may not even be back with the team. The youth movement has now started and we should build around Komisarek , Price , Plekanec , Higgins , Chipchura , Markov and the Kost bros. Add to that a few veterans (who may or who may not be Koivu/Kovalev) or an impact player(s) and we are set.