Ilya Kovalchuk spurns Kings, signs with Devils

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Ilya Kovalchuk has turned down offers from the Kings and has agreed to stay with the New Jersey Devils, yet another premier free agent who has gotten away from the Kings.

They had avidly pursued the two-time 50-goal scorer and had him come out to Los Angeles for a visit last weekend. However, his agent, Jay Grossman, and the Devils announced Monday that he would re-sign with the Devils, who acquired him from Atlanta in a trade in February.

The Kings hadn’t signed any other free agents while they wooed Kovalchuk, so they’re going to have to get active via the trade route to add the scoring wingers and defenseman that General Manager Dean Lombardi had wanted.

Initial reports said the terms of Kovalchuk’s deal were 17 years at $100 million, though that couldn’t be immediately confirmed. Tim Leiweke, the Kings’ governor and chief executive of their parent company, AEG, said in an e-mail that Kovalchuk ‘had two very good choices. NJ offered more money. Simple as that.’


‘We threw everything at him we had while leaving the cap space necessary to sign our kids. He is a great player and I am disappointed he didn’t come to LA. It was not for lack of effort or cash.’

More later at

-- Helene Elliott