Trade deadline day primer; Kovalchuk on whether he'd waive NMC - LA Kings Insider

Good morning from Amalie Arena in Tampa. The trade deadline is at 12:00 p.m. PT, and to get down to the nitty gritty, here are a few general understandings at the day’s outset:

–As many as a dozen players may be in conversations for Los Angeles, but I’m not expecting anywhere near that number of roster players moved. As I shared in Saturday’s Rosen Report (below) and on the LA Kings Audio Network, my pre-deadline over-under on trades involving roster players was 1.5. As of this morning, I’ve upped that to two. Tough betting line!

–The Kings’ prior M.O. was to hold on to younger players with term or under club control and the potential to produce and play meaningful minutes. They’re not motivated to move these players and would do so only if the return was particularly significant.

–That speaks primarily for Tyler Toffoli, who wasn’t expected to be traded at the deadline but is reported to be back in conversations. If opposing teams up their offers, more players for Los Angeles come into play. “Thanks, Captain Obvious,” you’re saying right now, but that’s essentially where the Kings are at. Until today, potential returns haven’t been to the team’s liking, but that can change with one phone call. Those calls haven’t come yet, but as teams look for Plan B or Plan C options after missing out on other targets, returns may rise.

–There has been interest in Kyle Clifford, as I reported earlier, but the Kings are not motivated to move him. He’s the personification of positive and constructive team culture.

–The Kings are not keen at all on retaining excess average annual value against their cap, and those types of negotiations are just as important as the returns they receive. They still have $1.525-million in cap recapture and termination penalties tied up in Mike Richards next season. (Click here for how much Richards will count against the cap each season through 2032.) This affects players who have multiple years remaining on lucrative contracts. Los Angeles shouldn’t be scraping the cap ceiling next season, but cap flexibility is a very important asset, and they can’t have an excessive number of players taking up cap space who aren’t playing for the team.

–We’re still expecting the club’s heavy lifting to take place at and around the NHL Draft. Again, that changes with one phone call, and Ilya Kovalchuk is still among the players to watch today. We spoke with Kovalchuk yesterday about his Los Angeles tenure and whether he would be open to waiving his no-movement clause. He sounded open to it out of the desire “to do whatever is good for the team,” but was otherwise keeping his cards close to vest. The New York Islanders (and former Devils executive Lou Lamoriello) have reportedly shown interest.

More from Kovalchuk, who won a gold medal at the PyeongChang Games one year ago today:

Ilya Kovalchuk, on whether he would want to move to another team to win a Stanley Cup:
That’s, I have a three-year contract, so you know I think that Rob Blake is going to do what’s the best for the future of this team, so you know my job is just to go out there and play and we’ll see what happens.

Kovalchuk, on whether he’d waive his no-trade clause if the situation was to his liking:
I don’t know, like I said, you should ask Rob about that because I told him that I am going to do whatever is good for the team because you know, I signed here, we went here, my family, we love the city and everything. I think our fans were great to us, so I just want to go out there and play and we’ll see what happens.

Kovalchuk, on the team’s play since the bye weeks:

I think the first road trip was pretty good. You know, I think we played well. I think we were, like what, 3-2-1 or something. But then the stretch at home. It’s got to happen, you know, if you want to push for the playoffs, we’ve got to win home games. And then obviously last night it was embarrassing, so we have a good chance to change those things tomorrow because we’re going to play against the best team in the league and that’s a good challenge to see where we’re at.

Kovalchuk, on how he has dealt with a difficult season for the team:
Yeah, it’s not easy, you know? But it’s another challenge for me, and I’m going to face it, so in my life, nothing easy, so you’ve got to treat those bumps and bruises. It’s just going to make me better. We just have to work hard. It doesn’t matter what because we’re all professionals. We play for our fans, for our families, for ourselves, so we’ve got to go out there and play our hardest every game.

Here’s Saturday’s Rosen Report. Several league-wide names referenced have already been traded, but much of what’s shared here is still applicable:

More to come from Tampa Bay, Insiders. I’m not sure if we’ll see a full-team skate this morning after a lengthy practice yesterday, so here are the projected forward groupings:

Iafallo-Kopitar-Brown
Kovalchuk-Carter-Toffoli
Leipsic-Kempe-Brodzinski
Clifford-Lewis-Wagner

Power play groups were Doughty-Kovalchuk-Leipsic-Kopitar-Brown and Fantenberg-Iafallo-Kempe-Carter-Toffoli.

–Lead photo via Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire

Rules for Blog Commenting
  • - No profanity, slurs or other offensive language. Replacing letters with symbols does not turn expletives into non-expletives.
  • - Personal attacks against other blog commenters, and/or blatant attempts to antagonize other commenters, are not tolerated. Respectful disagreement is encouraged. Posts that continually express the same singular opinion will be deleted.
  • - Comments that incite political, religious or similar debates will be deleted.
  • - Please do not discuss, or post links to, websites that illegally stream NHL games.
  • - Posting under multiple user names is not allowed. Do not type in all caps. All violations are subject to comment deletion and/or banning of commenters, per the discretion of the blog administrator.
Adrian Kempe

#9 | 6′ 2″ | 195 lb | Age: 21

Born: September 13, 1996
Birthplace: Kramfors, SWE
Position: LW
Handedness: Left

Bio

Kempe was selected by the Kings in the first round (29th overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft.
VIEW ADRIAN KEMPE POSTS

Alex Iafallo

#19 | 6′ | 185 lb | Age: 23

Born: December 21, 1993
Birthplace: Eden, NY, USA
Position: C
Handedness: Left

Bio

Iafallo was signed by the Kings as an unrestricted free agent on April 18, 2017.
VIEW ALEX IAFALLO POSTS

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.

VIEW ANZE KOPITAR POSTS
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.

VIEW DREW DOUGHTY POSTS
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.

VIEW JEFF CARTER POSTS
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.

VIEW JONATHAN QUICK POSTS