It already appears that the Los Angeles Kings fell out of the Ilya Kovalchuk sweepstakes, but now it seems that they won’t be trading for Simon Gagne either. Rich Hammond provides the report.
Incidentally, something I neglected to mention in the previous post is that according to a team source, the Kings no longer consider themselves in the market for Philadelphia’s Simon Gagne. So everything is right…back…to…square one.
So, what’s next for the Kings, then?
My guess is that the second best forward out there is Alex Frolov, but he’s unlikely to sign with his former team after some tense moments during the 2009-10 season. Perhaps the Kings will opt to go with an under-the-radar type guy, instead. There’s also the option of accepting a salary dump (if those Devils rumors are true, the Kings might event want to poach a Patrik Elias-type player).
Honestly, I think this might prove to be a blessing in disguise for the Kings. GM Dean Lombardi is calmly and carefully arranging a team that is well-stocked with decent contracts (aside from some slightly overpriced deals for Anze Kopitar and Ryan Smyth) and young talent. Sports fans are often seduced by the dream of landing big free agents but think back through the years; how many big deals actually benefited the teams who signed those contracts? Just look at the Jay Bouwmeester deal, the Albert Haynesworth debacle in the NFL and countless other splashy disappointments.
I’m not saying Kovalchuk will fail to play up to the level of his contract, just that the Kings might be wise to focus their sights on re-signing Drew Doughty and building up incrementally. It might not be the sexiest, splashiest way to build a winning hockey team, but the right move isn’t always the flashiest move.