Player News - Kings

Date: Team: Pos:

Akil Thomas has been selected with the 51st pick by the Los Angeles Kings in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft.

The Kings took Finnish forward Rasmus Kupari in the first round and they decide to take another forward with their first pick of Day 2. Los Angeles made this selection just minutes after signing free agent Ilya Kovalchuk. Thomas is a right-handed center who has plenty of playmaking ability. The 18-year-old racked up 22 goals and an impressive 81 points in 68 games with OHL Niagara in 2017-18. He’s capable of playing in all situations, as he was often used on the penalty-kill with the IceDogs and with Team Canada’s Under-18 team last season. Thomas is a smart player with a high hockey IQ. He may never provide enough offense at the next level to be a top-line center, but he’s certainly capable enough in all facets of the game to develop into a strong second-line player.
Jun 23 - 12:11 PM

Ilya Kovalchuk has agreed to terms on a three-year contract with the Los Angeles Kings.

Kovalchuk's deal, which will become official on July 1, is reportedly worth an annual average value of $6.25 million. Kovalchuk had a number of suitors including the Bruins, Sharks and Blues, but he ended up settling on a Los Angeles team that struggled to find the back of the net last season. The 35-year-old hasn't played in the NHL since the 2012-13 season when he was a member of the New Jersey Devils, but he's remained productive in the KHL. Kovalchuk had 31 goals and 63 points in 53 games with SKA St. Petersburg last year. The veteran winger will have the opportunity to be a top offensive option for the Kings starting next season. He will have fantasy value in all standard leagues.
Jun 23 - 11:34 AM

The Los Angeles Kings have selected center Rasmus Kupari with the 20th pick in the 2018 Entry Draft.

Kupari played in the top Finnish league this season as a 17-year-old and acquitted himself quite well as he had six goals and 14 points in 39 games for Karput Oulu. The center is a terrific skater with speed to fly past others and leave them in his wake. His other skills are just average at best although he is good with the puck and has a strong defensive game. He will likely end up as a second or third line center and should be ready for the NHL in three-four years. The Kings should return to Finland after training camp for another season in the liiga but his junior rights are held by Sault Ste. Marie.
Jun 22 - 9:45 PM

Bruins GM Don Sweeney believes Ilya Kovalchuk has significant interest in Boston.

"We’ve spoken to their camp. We have not met with them in person, but we’ve spoken and had numerous conversations with his representatives about where they’re at. We feel we’re a team he has strong interest in and we’ll see where it goes between now and however long he takes to make his decision," said Sweeney. "We’re in a position to explore it. We talked very specifically about our roster with him and where we see him fitting in, and what he brings to the table. We’ll be excited to continue to explore, but I don’t know necessarily where it goes." The Bruins have consistently been cited in reports as one of the teams in the mix for Kovalchuk. It's believed that the Los Angeles Kings, among others, have offered Kovalchuk a contract with Vegas and San Jose also reportedly pursuing his services. Kovalchuk can't sign a contract until July 1.
Jun 22 - 5:23 AM

The Los Angeles Kings are reportedly believed to be among the teams that have submitted a contract offer to Ilya Kovalchuk.

Kovalchuk can't sign any contract until July 1 though. In addition to Los Angeles, it's believed that Boston, Vegas, and San Jose are also pursuing his services. Previous reports also linked the Blues and Red Wings to Kovalchuk, so perhaps they also still have a chance.
Jun 21 - 6:11 PM

Anze Kopitar took home the Frank J. Selke Trophy at the NHL Awards on Wednesday night.

The award is "given to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game". Kopitar has been one of the premiere two-way forwards in the league for a number of years. The 30-year-old had 35 goals and 92 points in 82 games during the regular season. This is the second time he wins the award in the last three years. He beat out Philadelphia's Sean Couturier and Boston's Patrice Bergeron.
Jun 20 - 9:11 PM

Jonathan Quick won the William M. Jennings Trophy on Wednesday night.

The award is "given to the goalkeeper(s) having played a minimum of 25 games for the team with the fewest goals scored against it. Winners are selected based on regular-season play." Quick had 33-28-3 record with a 2.40 goals-against-average and a .921 save percentage this season. The Kings netminder also won this award back in 2014.
Jun 20 - 8:16 PM

Darryl Sutter doesn't want to be considered for the Washington Capitals' head coaching job.

Sutter has an incredible resume with 634 regular season wins and two Stanley Cup championships. However, the 59-year-old might have coached for his last team after being relieved of duty by the Kings in April 2017. "Forty years, that’s enough," said Sutter. With regards to the Capitals' job specifically he added, "No way, I’d be too far away from the grandkids." Instead he's managing his farm in Viking, Alberta. He did say that he would have listened had the Calgary Flames had contact him about their coaching vacancy, but he feels they made a great choice with Bill Peters. As Sutter put it, "I’m totally at peace with not coaching."
Jun 20 - 11:40 AM

Los Angeles intends to resume contract talks with Drew Doughty after the NHL Draft.

"I had conversations with Drew just regarding timing of all this, and I understand the July 1 and all that," said Kings GM Rob Blake. "He knows our focus has been on the draft, and then I communicated with him, we'll sit down after and get things going." Blake also stated that the team will do what it takes to get Doughty signed to an extension.
Jun 19 - 3:12 PM

Los Angeles hasn't made a decision yet on Tobias Rieder, but one may come around the draft.

Rieder can become a restricted free agent on July 1, but the Kings may not give him a qualifying offer. If he doesn't get one then he will be able to test the market as an unrestricted free agent. Rieder had six points in 20 games with Los Angeles after he was acquired from Arizona. He didn't post a point during the playoffs.
Jun 19 - 2:21 PM

Gabriel Vilardi is slated to compete for a roster spot with the Los Angeles Kings at training camp.

Vilardi, who was the 11th overall pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, was limited to just 32 regular-season games with the OHL's Kingston Frontenacs last season because of a back injury. He went on to amass 22 goals and 58 points before adding another 22 points in 16 playoff contests.
Jun 19 - 2:14 PM

Look for Jack Campbell to be the Kings' backup goalie this upcoming season.

The Kings re-acquired Peter Budaj from the Lightning for Andy Andreoff this week, however Budaj seems to be ticketed for Ontario of the AHL. In five games with LA last season, Campbell had a 2.48 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage.
Jun 16 - 11:23 AM

You can count St. Louis among the teams that have interest in signing Ilya Kovalchuk.

St. Louis was part of TSN's Darren Dreger list of teams he believes are in the mix for Kovalchuk and now Blues GM Doug Armstrong has confirmed his interest. "Always looking to improve our team," Armstrong said. "We're like all teams. He's 35 years old, there's risk involved with players of that age. But he could be Jaromir Jagr. He could start slowing down at 41. Or he could come back and hit the wall. You never know. But there's certainly intrigue there because he's been such a dominant player internationally and he was a helluva player when he left (the NHL)." Armstrong has been in contact with Kovalchuk's agent.
Jun 15 - 11:27 AM

It seems safe to assume that the Los Angeles Kings will not re-sign Scott Wedgewood.

The Kings acquired Wedgewood from the Arizona Coyotes on Feb. 21, but they promptly placed him on waivers and sent him to the AHL once he cleared. After the Kings acquired Peter Budaj on Wednesday, there doesn't seem to be any opening left for Wedgewood going forward. Budaj and Cal Petersen are the projected AHL goaltenders while Jack Campbell and Jonathan Quick play for Los Angeles.
Jun 14 - 8:25 AM

The expectation is that the recently reacquired Peter Budaj will start the 2018-19 campaign in the AHL.

Budaj should serve as a mentor for the 23-year-old Cal Petersen while they are both projected to play at that level. Meanwhile, Jack Campbell is expected to serve as Jonathan Quick's backup goalie.
Jun 14 - 8:22 AM


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