Well, on to Plan B.
The Los Angeles Kings lost out on the Ilya Kovalchuk Sweepstakes Monday morning as Kovalchuk signed a
completely unfair extremely creative deal to remain a New Jersey Devil. In today's cap world it seems unlikely that Kovalchuk will ever see the last 4-5 years of his deal; he'll either retire or the Devils will buy him out. It's still unknown whether Kings GM Dean Lombardi was given the opportunity to match the Devils' offer. If he was, either he or more likely AEG (a supporter of the cap and one of Gary Bettman's core owners) was unwilling to bend the cap rules so blatantly.
So now we move on.
The Kings losing out on Kovalchuk hurts. Not only is he one of the premier snipers in the game, he was a UFA, meaning it would cost the Kings nothing but money and cap space to sign him. There are a few free agents who might be worth the Kings' while but they will more likely be headed to the trade market to find the shooter they so desperately need to complement their collection of hard-working, gritty forwards. A few options, with my thoughts below:
#24 / Left Wing / Los Angeles Kings
Jun 19, 1982
Fro! The erstwhile left winger likes Los Angeles and wanted to stay. Why not bring him back? Well, to answer my own question, because Terry Murray and Dean Lombardi seem to hate him. Frolov was allegedly looking for $5 million a season but I would imagine the price has gone down since July 1. I'm biased because I love Frolov, but he wouldn't be a terrible consolation prize. It would fill our Russian quota, at least.
#9 / Right Wing / Anaheim Ducks
Mar 17, 1987
(Restricted Free Agency)
This won't happen but it would be pretty hilarious if it did. The Anaheim winger is having trouble signing because he's looking for a short deal that will get him to unrestricted free agency while Anaheim wants to lock him down for at least five years. The Kings could swoop in and take Ryan away, or at least screw with Anaheim's cap. Like I said, it won't happen, especially because the Kings still need to sign Drew Doughty, Jack Johnson and Wayne Simmonds next season. But it would make me laugh.
#12 / Right Wing / Calgary Flames
Jul 01, 1977
This is Quisp's master plan. Iginla would cost a ton in prospects and roster players, but he is a great hockey player and from all accounts is the greatest human being on Earth. He is one of the best snipers in the game and he would fit perfectly with Anze Kopitar. I'm just not sure if a) Calgary would be willing to part with him and b) if they would part with him at a price that would make sense for the Kings. It's a nice thought, though.
(Also, it would be amazing to have Ryan Smyth and Jarome Iginla on the same team just because it would make Alberta collapse in on itself. That can't be overlooked.)
#9 / Left Wing / St. Louis Blues
Oct 16, 1974
Eww, no. Next!
#91 / Center / Boston Bruins
Jul 17, 1977
Marc Savard isn't a scorer, he's a play maker, but he's still very talented and would give the Kings the strongest center corps outside of Pittsburgh. The Bruins are looking to move him because their own center corps is overflowing with younger players. Savard is coming off a serious concussion but a long injury history has never deterred Dean Lombardi before. The contract that takes Savard to 40 might, though.
#23 / Left Wing / Pittsburgh Penguins
Apr 09, 1980
We'll call this Plan C. Ponikarovsky is a nice player, but he's a downgrade from Frolov. His signing would mean we missed out on everyone else.
#8 / Right Wing / Anaheim Ducks
Jul 03, 1970
As you can see, the pickings are slim and none are preferable to signing Kovalchuk. The Kings aren't in serious trouble, and they should still be able to make the playoffs next season. Going anywhere in said playoffs is another story. Lombardi has his work cut out for him.