There were concerns with both players long-term at the time, especially for the terms being talked about. I never wanted Kovy back myself (just wasn't impressed by what I saw when he was dealt here, despite good quick-glance "eye-test" numbers) and I said that at the time. I was encouraged by his willingness to become a better all-around player towards the end of his first full season here and throughout his second season, but then he went to Russia, decided he wanted to play there instead, and that was that. Sucks in that his deciding to bail when he was clearly supposed to be a long-term piece had ripple effects elsewhere (on top of all of the other crap that happened with VBK having financial issues), but I still wonder how effective he would've been as an NHLer at this point in his career...maybe 2012 really was his peak here as a Devil.
Zach was definitely far from being a useless bum, and he's been missed here. His Wild career has been pretty good and his regular season performance is about what should have been expected, but one strike against him is that he hasn't made much of an impact in three straight playoff series against the Blackhawks...just basic numbers here, but in 15 GP in those Blackhawk series, Zach scored three goals, added five assists and was a -13. Obviously those aren't be-all end-all measures, but he hasn't done much to help the Wild get over the hump...yet.
For whatever it's worth, I think Zack would've still been pretty solid here if he had remained (we all thought he would, it was more what would he be 5-6 years into his contract with many years to go). Not sure what Kovy would've done...not saying he would've outright sucked, but I think he would've had a tough time being 2012 Kovy.
That's all fair but how many player doesn't worry their team in the long run lol how do you think the ducks feel with 2 aging 35+ years old Perry and Getzlaf taking that much cap room? Or Toews and Kane etc etc I understand the logic in thinking "in 7 years Kovy and Zach will be on the decline so not such a good deal i want to stay away from that!" but that's silly. Would you not buy a house thinking.... ohhhh well in 20 years im gonna have to re-do the roof.
And of course for ANY players in the league they can injure themselves and never be the same players again. That's the risk you have to take sometimes. Seems like some posters here would rather stay in misery rather than overpaying a guy who would do the job for years and MAY decline one day.
As for Kovy vs Zach... i dunno... Zach has the biggest heart and will always give his 110% on every shift. Some may say he'll break down sooner than later. Nobody knows that for sure. So i can't really put that on him and say a long term contract would suck with him cause HE WILL breakdown. Again that's just people trying to convince themselves of that.
Then Kovy well Kovy is super strong and has one of the best shot in history. We've seen how strong players can last (Jagr) and we've seen how far just having a shot can bring you (sykora) so i honestly don't really know who would have been the best long term. I'd lean towards Kovy simply cause he can score without lots of efforts and from anywhere. He can have the worst game of his career but then snipe one from the blueline off the post like it's nothing.