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Kings Out Of The Kovalchuk Race

via Helene Elliott tweet,

Kovalchuk says no to Kings. Lombardi: “We took our best shot to meet his needs and the team’s.”

added 6:09pm, via Helene Elliott of the Fabulous Forum,

Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi said Sunday afternoon that the high-scoring free agent decided against joining the Kings, who had targeted him as the productive winger they urgently need and a marquee player who might generate some buzz around town.

“We took our best shot to meet his needs and the team’s,” Lombardi said in an email.

He would not elaborate on where the Kings’ offer fell short or where Kovalchuk might be headed.

added 6:46pm, Just in case you believed those internet reports yesterday that the Avs were interested in Kovy…

from Adrian Dater of All Things Avs,

And, the Avalanche will NOT be part of the mix in the hunt for Ilya Kovalchuk. Colorado just isn’t a player for the still-free star winger.  And who can blame them, really, with Kovalchuk’s purported salary desires.


added 9:46pm, from Elliotte Friedman tweet,

Source: Kings really want Kovalchuk badly, feel he’s exactly what they need…but cannot get him to drop below a contract request of $100 million. Kings feel they have made biggest offer they can without jeopardizing Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson extensions.

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


Paul's avatar

Anyone else feel we are going to here more KHL talk regarding Kovalchuk?

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 07/04/10 at 07:55 PM ET


KHL is a huge factor but there is usually a unknown team that jumps in scoops players up like kovalchuk off the market. Don’t be surprised if Gagne is Traded to La tomorrow.

Posted by FlyersFan on 07/04/10 at 08:40 PM ET


ahh just let him go….Out of sight out of mine.

It would be really interesting to see what he could do on a quality team with some good supporting staff but really if he is looking for such $$$ than Cya. If winning is really what its about then do the Hossa and sign a one year with the best team thats interested at 4-5 mil and see what happens

Posted by rdgamblr from Northern Illinois on 07/04/10 at 08:43 PM ET

Nate A's avatar

KHL is a huge factor but there is usually a unknown team that jumps in scoops players up like kovalchuk off the market

You mean like Phoenix? They’ve got lots of space, and are an “up and coming team dedicated to winning,” and my what a face for a franchise that still needs all the attention it can get. Wouldn’t that just piss a whole bunch of people off.

Posted by Nate A from Detroit-ish on 07/04/10 at 08:57 PM ET

Moq's avatar

Phoenix has an imposed budget, so that seems unlikely.

Perhaps we’ll see Wang opening his wallet and unleashing the lethal combo of Kovalchuk and Tavares. I think it would be a pity to see a flamboyant talent like Kovalchuk playing in KHL obscurity.

Posted by Moq from Denmark on 07/04/10 at 09:15 PM ET

Paul's avatar

Rich Hammond of LA Kings Insider makes a point…

it’s fair to say that entering the fifth day of the free-agency period, the Kings will have neither a top-six forward nor a top-four defenseman, their two clear targets heading into the summer.

So what do they do now?

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 07/04/10 at 09:22 PM ET

WingMan's avatar

I would this opens the door for a Toronto - LA trade…  Kings want a top 4 D and TO wants to move one… lets see if they can get the numbers to work!

Posted by WingMan from The Q C on 07/04/10 at 10:19 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

So what do they do now?

Wait for him to come to his senses & his agent stop being a PUTZ, He is NOT signing with the Isles, If he wanted the Money without any chance of winning he would of stayed in Atlanta, Devils don’t Have the Cap space

Posted by Evilpens on 07/04/10 at 10:20 PM ET


This is a case of very limited supply and almost equally limited demand .... that is, at some point a player, even one of this stature, can be asking for too much.  In this instance Kovalchuk really only had two suitors interested in meeting his demands (wicked pay and a real chance to win the cup).  When both LA and NJ balked at the his salary expectations and backed off, Kovalchuk was left in a dilema - winning with lower pay or higher pay on a losing team.  And this only a few months after he spurned a huge salary offer from the Atlanta Thrashers (huge sigh of relief for them).  Right about now he’s kicking himself and bellowing at his agent at the top of his lungs at the hash that has been made of the whole negotiation.  The recommended course of action is for the agent to “eat some crow” and slink back to the bargaining table, cap in hand.  Charles Wang is now also in a better position, as is the KHL. - if Kovalchuk accepts either the KHL or Islanders offers (neither very financially stable) this will not reflect well on his reputation as a player or as a person.  This also serves as a cautionary warning that agents also need to understand the implications of the cap and that they should not overly inflate their players expectations.  The agent may well get fired over this episode (and rightfully so).

Posted by Matty55 on 07/04/10 at 11:17 PM ET


Kings want a top 4 D and TO wants to move one… lets see if they can get the numbers to work!

Yeah, but Toronto’s looking for a top-six forward, preferably a #1 centre, and LA can’t make that happen.

Posted by Garth on 07/04/10 at 11:22 PM ET

Paul's avatar

A little update on where the Kings stand with Kovy can be found at LA Kings Insider.

Basically, he wants more money than the Kings want to give.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 07/05/10 at 12:20 AM ET

AvsRock's avatar

Kovy is doing a fantastic job of making himself look like an ass.

Posted by AvsRock from My timeshare in insanity... on 07/05/10 at 01:15 AM ET


Kings feel they have made biggest offer they can without jeopardizing Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson extensions.

Doughty, fair enough. Already one of the best players in the league, worth $6/7m a season. But not sure why LA is quite so committed to Jack Johnson when they have plenty more talent on the backend - Hickey, Voinov, Martinez, and that’s just the puck-moving D. Wouldn’t be the end of the world to lose him provided the return was a solid haul of picks/prospects.

Ultimately LA have to gird their loins, grit their teeth, and pay up on this one. Only with an elite scorer like Kovalchuk will they be able to become top-level contenders - and players like Kovalchuk don’t hit the market often.

Posted by fcjbencard on 07/05/10 at 01:23 AM ET


Actually, players like Kovalchuk do hit the market quite often (Hossa and Gaborik last summer for example).  Every free agency period there is at least one such player and gm’s usually rue that day they took leave of their senses.  It alters the team pay scale for years to come and handcuffs the organization like the proverbial albatross.  It should be noted that some “elite” players are one dimensional and expect different treatment both on and off the ice.  Is it really worth what you do to team chemistry?

Posted by Matty55 on 07/05/10 at 11:01 AM ET

Moq's avatar

I don’t see the $100 mio. as an insurmountable problem, unless Kovalchuk has a problem with 10-12 contract years. Los Angeles doesn’t have a lot significant long-term salary commitments beyond Kopitar, and it should be possible to fit Doughty and Johnson alongside Kovalchuk without scraping uncomfortably against the salary cap ceiling.

The question is if Kovalchuk is the right kind of player to push Los Angeles forward. I can understand if Lombardi has his doubts about that.

Posted by Moq from Denmark on 07/05/10 at 11:05 AM ET

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