i assume him is kovalchuk. look, i love watching kovalchuk play, he's one of the NHL's most gifted players. but the truth is, his territorial numbers were not good in atlanta, he overstays his shifts, he doesn't always backcheck, his forechecking skills leave something to be desired - everything about his game that isn't putting the puck in the net needs improvement. he's 27; it's unclear that these things will be improved.
furthermore, scoring forwards almost always have a decline around 32 or 33. so a 10 year kovalchuk contract could be disastrous. kovalchuk has had very few injuries, but you look at selanne, hull, jagr, most top scorers, they don't keep scoring at the same rate into their mid 30s. i'll go look later for scoring seasons over .5 goals per game after age 32 but it isn't pretty.
To the first paragraph. Playing in Atlanta is a completely different paradigm to playing in New Jersey. In New Jersey you are TOLD/TAUGHT to be defensibly responsible, otherwise, you are traded. Hence the reason why NJ makes the playoffs and Atl does not. It is very possible that his output (as far as points go) will drop, but his team will possibly (and most likely) be far more successful.
To the second paragraph. While those superstars may have diminished at certain points in their careers, taking into consideration age. You have to understand the parameters of variations. Could it have been because said player's skill was diminishing ? certainly, but you have to understand the quality of the players on his team, let alone the quality of the opposition. Kovalchuk has never played on a team with the skill it has now. (see Bourque, Ray*)
Tri, you are really great at two dimensional thinking, or rote, but you don't know anything about psychology, your posts prove it, empirically.
Not a criticism, just an observation.
A change of scenery can make the world of difference, just ask Marian Hossa et al.
*that series was rigged.