Kovalchuk is expected to discuss his role for 2019-20 with Kings GM Rob Blake in the near future, with his defensive performance likely to be addressed. Kovalchuk was never expected to be great on defense, but a minus-26 wasn't what he or the Kings had in mind, as that was his worst plus-minus finish in his NHL career. His season went south after the Kings fired John Stevens, and it's a concern as to how much he'll play in 2019-20, as it's unclear whether the Kings' new coach will be in the mold of Stevens or Willie Desjardins, with whom Kovalchuk clashed all year. What is clear is that he'll almost surely be with the Kings for the next two seasons; after paying his signing bonus in July, they'll only owe him $5 million total until the end of the 2021-22 campaign. In the right system, Kovalchuk is a great bounce-back candidate, but if he doesn't play within the team's system, he won't be of much use to fantasy owners.
Kovalchuk scored on both of his shots and went plus-3 in Saturday's 5-2 win over the Golden Knights. Kovalchuk ended the year with 16 goals and 34 points in 64 appearances after a five-year hiatus in the KHL. He also had a minus-26 rating, matching his worst campaign in that category. Kovalchuk turns 36 years old on April 15, and it's questionable if he will have much of a fantasy impact outside of deeper formats in 2019-20.
Kovalchuk (coach's decision) will play in Monday's home tilt against the Flames, Jon Rosen of Fox Sports West reports. Kovalchuk has been deemed ready to play by the coaching staff, as he hasn't seen game action since March 18. The 35-year-old had an assist in his last game, and has 31 points in 60 games this campaign. Kovalchuk will take the place of Johnny Brodzinski in the lineup.
Kovalchuck (coach's decision) won't suit up in Saturday's home contest against the Blackhawks, Jon Rosen of Fox Sports West reports. Kovalchuck hasn't suited up in game action since March 18, and his absence will continue until his coach feels he's ready. The Russian could make his return to the lineup "soon" per Rosen, but his return date remains to be seen. The 35-year-old likely won't have a huge fantasy impact for the rest of the season once he returns, as he has 31 points in 60 games this campaign.
Kovalchuk (coach's decision) isn't with the team on a three-game Western Canada road trip that begins Monday in Calgary, Jon Rosen of LA Kings Insider reports. Kovalchuk is staying behind to work with skill and development staff, as he would be unable to do so on the road trip due to a lack of practice days. Assuming he doesn't join the team Tuesday in Edmonton or Thursday in Vancouver, Kovalchuk's next chance to suit up should come in Saturday's home tilt against the Blackhawks.
Last 7 Games
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