Day 40 - LA Kings Insider

Last month, I joked about how someone could write a book about this Ilya Kovalchuk mess. Now, it almost seems like a certainty, doesn’t it? This afternoon, the arbitrator has ruled in favor of the NHL and declared Kovalchuk a free agent again.

I had a quick chat with a member of team management today, and my inquiry as to whether the Kings would consider making another offer to Kovalchuk, should he come a free agent again, was met with a quick and stern, “Are you kidding?” Well, I was half-joking… Since July 1, it’s been prudent to be in the “Believe it when you see it” camp when it comes to this story, so that’s where I’ll remain, but it seems that the Kings are exploring another avenues, for both forwards and defensemen. What are they? All I got was a cryptic, “We’re working on some things.” It wouldn’t be surprising to see something happen at any time, but hopefully it won’t be tomorrow, as I’ll be out of range for half of the day… It seems clear that the Kings’ next move will be a trade, not a signing, and that they recognize the need to make a move soon in order to improve the team.

As for Kovalchuk, it seems natural to me — although it’s just a semi-educated guess — that he will end up signing a one-year contract, either in the NHL or KHL, and climb back on this merry-go-round 11 months from now. Dean Lombardi already got burned on this once, by putting all of his eggs in the Kovalchuk basket.

Life got more complicated when Matt Greene went under the knife, because while it was plausible for the Kings to add one untested young defenseman to the lineup (Voynov, Hickey, Muzzin, etc.) it’s hard to imagine they would press their luck and try for two, even if only for the first month of the season. I’m told there’s some consternation, on management’s part, that Greene’s injury was not discovered until mid-July, although that begs a question. In a sport in which players so often try to push through injuries, shouldn’t teams request/demand (to the extent that it’s possible within the CBA) some type of end-of-season medical evaluation?

Finally, the Kings today announced that tickets for the home opener (Oct. 12 against Atlanta) will go on sale on Thursday through LAKings.com and 1-888-KINGS-LA. Other single-game tickets will go on sale Sept. 9. Tickets to the two preseason games at Staples Center (Sept. 23 and 28) also go on sale Thursday. It seems as though it’s been a good summer, revenue-wise. The team said that it has a 96-percent renewal rate on season seats from last year and that the Kings are expecting record numbers in terms of season tickets and overall ticket sales. Are you joining in, or waiting to see what happens in the next two months?

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Jake Muzzin

#6 | 6′ 3″ | 216 lb | Age: 27

Born: Feb 21, 1989
Birthplace: Woodstock, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Left

Bio

Muzzin was drafted in 2007 by the Pittsburgh Penguins, before signing to the Kings in 2010. He has since become the first Woodstock, Ontario professional athlete to win a major sports trophy.
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Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

Born: August 24, 1987
Birthplace: Jesenice, SVN
Position: C
Handedness: Left

Bio

As the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Kopitar became the first Slovenian to play in the NHL. Kopitar has spent his entire NHL career with the Kings, and following the 2015–16 season, was named the Kings’ captain. Noted for both his offensive and defensive play, Kopitar was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL in 2016.

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Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

Born: December 8, 1989
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Right

Bio

Bio: Doughty is a Canadian defenceman who was selected second overall by the Kings in the 2008 Draft. Doughty made his NHL debut in 2008 as an 18-year-old and was named to the All-Rookie Team. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Kings, a two-time Olympic gold medallist with the Canadian national team, and a Norris Trophy finalist.

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Tyler Toffoli

#73 | 6′ 1″ | 200 lb | Age: 24

Born: April 24, 1992
Birthplace: Scarborough, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right

Bio

Toffoli is a Canadian professional ice hockey forward, drafted by the Kings in the second round of the 2010 Draft. Toffoli scored his first career NHL goal in his second game in a 4–0 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes in 2013. He was also named the 2012–13 AHL All-Rookie Team.
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Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

Born: January 1, 1985
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right

Bio

Carter began his hockey career playing in the Ontario Hockey League in Canada before joining the AHL and playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was then traded to the Colombus Blue jackets before joining the LA Kings in 2012, where he has since won two Stanley Cups with the Kings.

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Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

Born: January 21, 1986
Birthplace: Milford, CT, USA
Position: G
Handedness: Left

Bio

Bio: Quick is the current goaltender for the LA Kings and was selected by Los Angeles at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Previously, Quick was a silver medalist with USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He’s won two Stanley Cup championships with the Kings, along with being the most recent goaltender to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.

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