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Kings Rumors: Quick’s future “up in the air,” Kovalchuk trade-bait?

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Calgary Flames v Los Angeles Kings Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NHLI via Getty Images

It’s still early in the 2019-20 season. However, what about some early-season rumors for the Los Angeles Kings? Last season, you probably heard a ton about Ilya Kovalchuk, Jonathan Quick, Jeff Carter, or Tyler Toffoli. Even though all the players aforementioned are still in a Kings uniform, the rumors about their future have not disappeared.

Kovalchuk trade-bait, again?

Ilya Kovalchuk has had a fine start to the regular season under new head coach Todd McLellan. In his first eight games, the Russian winger has collected seven points. It doesn’t matter that Kovalchuk has already changed lines twice. He finally doesn’t seem like a problem anymore.

In his latest for The Athletic (hard paywall), NHL Insider Pierre LeBrun speculated on Kovalchuk’s future in Los Angeles. Last season, maybe his three-year deal combined with injuries scared the suitors way too heavily before acquiring him. A resurgent Kovalchuk, with “only” two years left on his contract, might be worth a look from the contenders again.

”The most important thing to point out in Ilya Kovalchuk’s situation is that soon enough, his contract represents a bargain. Half of his $5.3-million signing bonus for this year was paid out on July 15, with the other half due on Dec. 15. Once that’s been taken care of, the Kings will have paid out all $13.15 million in signing bonus money on Kovalchuk’s contract, and will have paid most of his $700,000 salary this season by the time Feb. 24 rolls around,” wrote LeBrun.

He mentioned Boston and San Jose as the teams interested before July 1st in 2018. Their tough salary cap situation means they should be out of the contention here. However, teams like the New York Islanders, who were alleged to be interested in him last year, and have some salary cap space, might circle back more realistically.

On Jonathan Quick’s Future

Now, let’s look at Jonathan Quick’s situation, as analyzed by TSN’s Insider Bob McKenzie. Following his woeful start to the campaign, there have been many rumblings around Quick’s uncertain future in LA. The proposed trade for Corey Schneider from New Jersey doesn’t seem to have much credibility.

”They really do like how Campbell has rehabilitated his game. The Kings also have Cal Petersen, who’s playing in the American Hockey League and is NHL ready right now. LA’s plan is not bring up Petersen, because obviously, Quick is there, but next year he’s going to require waivers. So with Campbell, Petersen, and Quick, Quick would look to be the odd man out,” says McKenzie.

The famous NHL Insider added that Quick’s future in Los Angeles “is absolutely up in the air,” despite him “not being tradeable” now. Quick has four years left on his $5.8 million-per-season contract.

What future lies ahead for both Kings veterans, Kovalchuk and Quick? We shall see as the season goes on, and as the trade deadline approaches.