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Los Angeles Kings Face Risk And Reward With Ilya Kovalchuk

from Curtis Zupke of the LA Times,

The Kings cannot sign Kovalchuk until free agency begins July 1. But securing him sets off a chain reaction on the market and represents a bold move by the Kings in beating out reported suitors the San Jose Sharks and Boston Bruins.

It also requires the Kings to adjust their offseason strategy as they intend to extend Drew Doughty’s contract. A significant raise in Doughty’s salary likely would force the Kings to free salary-cap space. Kovalchuk would be the second-highest paid forward on the Kings, behind Anze Kopitar, and they’re wishing for at least 20 goals from Kovalchuk after they scored three total in a playoff series loss to the Vegas Golden Knights....

Kings assistant general manager Michael Futa has said “there’s obviously a bit of a risk factor,” but he has scouted Kovalchuk and said the Russian still can shoot the puck from anywhere on the ice.

Kovalchuk is not known as a defensive player, which runs in heavy contrast to the Kings’ philosophy of two-way play. But his hands and shot mentality, alongside Kopitar and Jeff Carter, warrant the risk.

“He’s very explosive,” Robitaille said. “We watched him enough last year and we feel he can [produce] in this league. The way our guys [play] — whether it’s Carts or it’s Kopi — they can hold the puck for him. He’s a great fit.”

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Los Angeles Kings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ilya+kovalchuk

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

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