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Kings End Pursuit Of Kovalchuck, Could Turn To Gagne

The LA Kings have reportedly ended their pursuit of free agent winder Ilyia Kovalchuck.

The Kings dropped out of the Ilya Kovalchuk sweepstakes Sunday after the summer’s premier free agent rejected their latest offer, apparently unwilling to accept less than $10 million per season for 10 years.

“We took our best shot to meet his needs and the team’s,” Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi told The Times. Kovalchuk’s agent, Jay Grossman, did not respond to a request for comment.

The speculation is that if the Kings give up on Kovalchuck, they’ll look to trade for Simon Gagne.

This, of course, does not mean it’s all over between the Russian scorer and the Kings.
This could all be a negotiating ploy, hoping the player will budge. It’s probably little coincidence that reports indicate Flyers winger Simon Gagne is willing to waive his no-trade clause, although he was given the weekend to think about it.

Lombardi and Kings VP/assistant GM Ron Hextall both have a Philadelphia connection and think highly of Gagne. But, you have to believe that, all things being equal, the Kings would prefer the younger, more explosive, and generally healthier Kovalchuk.