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Kings still silent as top free-agent defensemen go elsewhere

July 1, 2010 |  1:47 pm

No word on the Kings' pursuit of left wing Ilya Kovalchuk. No word from the Kings at all, and that can't be good.

More than a half-dozen prime defensemen have changed teams in the first few hours of free agency, but the Kings, who had planned to pursue a top-tier defensemen, have been shut out -- and have lost defenseman Sean O'Donnell to the Philadelphia Flyers on a one-year, $1-million-plus-bonuses deal. And Western Conference rival Vancouver got stronger by nearing an agreement with Dan Hamhuis, though a deal wasn't official yet.

The latest defenseman to elude the Kings was Hamhuis, who took a six-year deal from the Canucks worth $4.5 million a year. He's a great catch -- good skater, good passer, sees the ice well.

Also, Anton Volchenkov is heading to New Jersey for a six-year contract. And Buffalo lost Henrik Tallinder to New Jersey for four years at $3.375 million a year and lost Toni Lydman to a three-year, $9-million deal with the Ducks.

Those signings follow the parade begun when Sergei Gonchar signed with Ottawa and Zbynek Michalek signed with Pittsburgh, which also signed Paul Martin away from New Jersey.

Hello, Dean Lombardi? We're waiting ...

-- Helene Elliott

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