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Power Rankings: Kings lucky they dodged Ilya's check

by | CBSSports.com Staff Writer

Updated Nov. 1

Know that saying about the best deals sometimes being the ones you don't make? Well it seems like Kings fans are giving it a lot of credence these days.

So far it looks like the Kings have little need for high-priced Ilya Kovalchuk. (Getty Images)  
So far it looks like the Kings have little need for high-priced Ilya Kovalchuk. (Getty Images)  
For good reason too, although their reaction to Ilya Kovalchuk over the weekend might have been partly an expression of relief given what's going on in New Jersey these days. Either way, the Staples Center crowd let Kovalchuk have it in his first appearance in Los Angeles since the free-agent dance he did with the Kings all summer ended.

Funny thing is, Kovalchuk never really seemed interested in the West Coast and Kings GM Dean Lombardi never denied being hesitant about messing with the chemistry of a very talented, up-and-coming young team. But there were other forces working at trying to arrange the marriage of a marquee star and a major market. They just couldn't make it happen.

And at least one month into the season, Los Angeles seems better off for it.

The Kings became the latest team on the verge last season with a young roster that has been largely drafted and developed in house, led by superstar talents like Drew Doughty, Anze Kopitar and Jack Johnson. Doughty has missed the last six games with a concussion, but the Kings have still been able to build on last season with a great start that takes them into November leading the overall standings.

The offense is humming along with a variety of contributors -- nine players have scored at least twice so far -- and the defense is handling things without Doughty. Willie Mitchell has been a nice fit and Jonathan Quick is being pushed by Jonathan Bernier in goal but is not giving up his No. 1 role easily. And the penalty killing has been outstanding.

These Kings look like the real deal. And that's a better deal than any one they could have made.

The rankings through the end of October:


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