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Kings still prime suitors for Ilya Kovalchuk

June 29, 2010 |  7:04 pm

The Kings continue to be the front-runners to land two-time 50-goal scorer Ilya Kovalchuk providing he doesn't try to break the bank when the NHL's free agency period opens Thursday at 9 a.m. Pacific time.

Yes, the Kings have talked before about landing impact players and have fallen short. Sometimes woefully short.

But this time they have not only the money and salary cap space but a strong selling point in a young, on-the-rise team that Kovalchuk could lead to Stanley Cup contention for years to come. There are few teams that have the resources or cap space that the Kings do, and from what team governor Tim Leiweke said last week as well as what agents for other players are hearing and seeing as they observe the market, the Kings appear determined to use their money and cap space to acquire the game-breaker they haven't been able to develop themselves.

Kovalchuk, who turned 27 in April, is clearly the most talented player in a generally weak free-agent class. There should be a few decent defensemen available, and look for the Kings to pursue Paul Martin or Dan Hamuis if neither signs before free agency begins. 

But Kovalchuk is the big fish, a dynamic player with marquee value and 338 goals in 621 NHL games. He didn't have a good playoff series in the Devils' five-game loss to Philadelphia but Jacques Lemaire's restrictive system didn't allow him to capitalize on his talents.

Two potential problems lurk: Kovalchuk turned down offers from the Atlanta Thrashers of $101 million over 12 years and $70 million over seven years before they traded him to New Jersey in February, and the Kings might balk if he's looking for a double-digit annual salary. 

They also have to think about re-signing Drew Doughty, Jack Johnson and Wayne Simmonds, who can become restricted free agents after next season, and about keeping their young core intact. The salary cap has zoomed upward since it was adopted after the lockout, and there are enough teams for sale or publicly declaring that they're losing money to think that owners might push for more financial controls in the next collective bargaining agreement. The current CBA recently was extended through the 2011-12 season. After that, who knows?

The Kings' rebuilding process has gone well, but to get past one round of the playoffs and become a serious Cup challenger they need a scoring threat like Kovalchuk.

The next few days should be very interesting....

In the meantime, here are some details of the Kings' development camp, which starts Wednesday at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo. Players the Kings chose in last weekend's NHL draft are scheduled to participate.

# PLAYER P HT WT PLACE OF BIIRTH DOB 2009-10 CLUB GP G A PTS PIIM

9 Oscar Moller C 5-10 186 Stockholm, Sweden 1-22-89 KINGS (NHL) 34 4 3 7 4, 
   Manchester (AHL) 43 15 18 33 20
37 Thomas Hickey D 6-0 190 Calgary, AB 2-8-89 Manchester (AHL) 19 1 5 6 12
42 Maxim Kitsyn LW 6-2 194 Novokuznetsk, Russia 12-24-91 Novokuznetsk (KHL) 21 1 1 2 12
47 Corey Elkins C 6-3 216 West Bloomfield, Mich. 2-23-85 KINGS (NHL) 3 1 0 1 0,
Manchester (AHL) 73 21 22 43 24
48 Ryan O’Connor D 5-11 185 Hamilton, Canada 1-12-92 Saginaw (OHL) 46 11 15 26 48,
Barrie (OHL) 19 2 10 12 17
49 Nic Deslauriers D 6-0 196 LaSalle, Canada 2-22-91 Rouyn-Noranda (QMJHL) 65 9 36 45 72
50 Bud Holloway LW 6-1 200 Wapella, Canada 3-1-88 Manchester (AHL) 75 19 28 47 26
51 Brandon Kozun RW 5-8 155 Los Angeles  3-8-90 Calgary (WHL) 65 32 75 107 50
52 Garrett Roe LW 5-8 162 Vienna, Va. 2-22-88 St. Cloud State (NCAA) 41 20 29 49 65
53 Matthew Konan D 6-3 182 Tustin   9-3-91 Medicine Hat (WHL) 65 5 15 20 117
54 Kevin Gravel D 6-4 185 Marquette, Mich. 3-6-92 Sioux City (USHL) 53 3 3 6 36
55 Brayden Schenn C 6-1 192 Saskatoon, Canada 8-22-91 KINGS (NHL) 1 0 0 0 0,
Brandon (WHL) 59 34 65 99 55
57 Linden Vey RW 6-0 189 Wakaw, Canada 7-17-91 Medicine Hat (WHL) 72 24 51 75 34
58 Andrew Crescenzi C 6-4 195 Thornhill, Canada  7-29-92 Kitchener (OHL) 68 8 4 12 42
59 Patrick Mullen D 6-0 181 Pittsburgh  5-6-86 Manchester (AHL) 44 4 6 10 16,
Ontario (ECHL) 1 0 0 0 0
60 Jordan Weal C 5-10 162 Saskatoon, Canada  4-15-92 Regina (WHL) 72 35 67 102 54
61 Trevor Lewis C 6-0 199 Salt Lake City  1-8-87 KINGS (NHL) 5 0 0 0 0,
Manchester (AHL) 23 5 2 7 6
62 Justin Azevedo C 5-7 180 West Lorne, ON 4-1-88 Manchester (AHL) 46 14 13 27 31
64 Kyle Clifford LW 6-2 208 Ayr, Canada  1-13-91 Barrie (OHL) 58 28 29 57 111
67 Samuel Groulx D 6-1 183 Gatineau, Canada  1-28-90 Victoriaville (QMJHL) 26 3 13 16 25,
Quebec (QMJHL) 40 11 16 27 44
68 Josh Turnbull C 5-10 172 Hayward, Wisc. 7-12-88 U. of Wisconsin (NCAA) 12 2 0 2 10
70 Michael Pelech F 6-3 203 Toronto  10-6-89 Ontario (ECHL) 72 10 25 35 133
71 Jordan Nolan C 6-3 215 St. Catharines, Canada  6-23-89 Ontario (ECHL) 3 1 1 2 4,
Sault Ste. Marie (OHL) 49 23 25 48 88
72 Nic Dowd C 6-1 175 Huntsville, Ala. 5-27-90 Indiana (USHL) 46 16 23 39 48
73 Tyler Toffoli C 6-0 178 Toronto  4-24-92 Ottawa (OHL) 65 37 42 79 54
74 Dwight King LW 6-3 227 Meadowlake, Canada  7-5-89 Manchester (AHL) 52 10 16 26 42,
Ontario (ECHL) 20 4 5 9 9
76 Dylan King D 6-1 193 Thessalon, Canada  7-5-90 Sault Ste. Marie (OHL) 68 2 8 10 172
77 Robbie Czarnik C 6-0 178 Detroit  1-25-90 Plymouth (OHL) 43 17 32 49 28,
U. of Michigan (NCAA) 12 3 3 6 4
78 Zach Harnden RW 6-2 205 Thunder Bay, Canada  9-23-89 Kingston (OHL) 65 24 36 60 75
79 Colten Teubert D 6-4 194 White Rock, Canada  3-8-90 Ontario (ECHL) 10 1 2 3 10,
Regina (WHL) 60 10 30 40 115
81 Andrew Campbell D 6-4 206 Caledonia, Canada 2-4-88 Manchester (AHL) 74 2 9 11 68
82 Ray Kaunisto F 6-4 185 Sault, Ste. Marie, Mich. 2-7-87 No. Michigan Univ. (NCAA) 40 18 14 32 78
83 David Kolomatis D 5-11 189 Livingston, N.J. 2-25-89 Manchester (AHL) 76 8 21 29 30
84 Derek Forbort D 6-5 198 Duluth, Minn. 3-4-92 USA U-18 (USHL) 26 4 10 14 26
85 Jake Muzzin D 6-2 216 Woodstock, Canada  2-21-89 Manchester (AHL) 1 0 1 1 0,
Sault Ste. Marie (OHL) 64 15 52 67 76


# GOALTENDER P HT WT PLACE OF BIRTH DOB 2009-10 CLUB GP MIN GAA SO PCT W-L-OTL
35 Sean Bonar G 6-1 170 Delta, Canada  2-12-91 Penticton (BCHL) 16 1003 2.33 2 .927 10-6-0
39 Brandon Glover G 6-3 165 Victoria, Canada  8-21-92 Moose Jaw (WHL) 30 1466 3.40 0 .890 9-8-6
46 Garrett Zemlak G 6-1 195 Saskatoon, Canada  6-24-89 Charlotte (ECHL) 3 195 2.15 0 .929 2-0-1,
Prince Albert (WHL) 57 3277 3.11 4 .909 26-25-4
65 Martin Jones G 6-4 185 North Vancouver, Canada  1-10-90 Calgary (WHL) 48 2851 2.21 8 .919 36-11-1
75 J.F. Berube G 6-1 165 Repentigny, Canada  7-13-91 Manchester (AHL) 3 180 3.67 0 .855 2-1-0,
Montreal (QMJHL) 65 2393 3.03 1 .897 17-23-0


LA KINGS 2010 DEVELOPMENT CAMP
ON-ICE WORKOUTS (JUNE 30 TO JULY 2)
(Subject to change)


Wednesday:

8-9 a.m. (Group A practice)
9:15-10:15 a.m. (Group A vs. Group B game)
10:30-11:30 a.m. (Group B practice)

Thursday:
8-9 a.m. (Group B practice)
9:15-10:15 a.m. (Group A vs. Group B game)
10:30-11:30 a.m. (Group A practice)


Friday:
8-9 a.m. (Group A practice)
9:15-10:15 a.m. (Group A vs. Group B game)
10:30-11:30 a.m. (Group B practice)

-- Helene Elliott

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