The hype surrounding Ilya Kovalchuk has suffered a slow and painful death as the season passes the quarter mark.
Kovalchuk was supposed to provide the Los Angeles Kings with some much needed offense but has instead failed to even log seven minutes of ice-time in his latest game.
Kovalchuk played 6mins, 20 seconds tonight. Asked if it was a coaching decision (not injury related), Kings coach Desjardins said “Yup”— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) November 26, 2018
Clearly, the Kings new coach has no room for Kovalchuk's lackluster play on his team.
The Kings fired head coach John Stevens and assistant coach Don Nachbur on November 4th. The front office obviously wasn't pleased with their 4-8-1 start and saw a change was needed. Unfortunately, the coaching change has done nothing in getting the Kings back in form. Desjardins is currently the interim head coach in Los Angeles, but his style of play has hardly complimented those who play with skill and finesse, such as Kovalchuk.
The Kings paid a lot for Ilya Kovalchuk last summer, but interim coach Willie Desjardins has cut the player's ice time and benched him in the third period against the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday. Is Kovy becoming a costly mistake?https://t.co/OWMtcIN1jt— The Athletic (@TheAthleticLA) November 26, 2018
Kovalchuk is quickly becoming on the of the worst free agent signings of the off-season.
The Russian veteran's return tour has gone slightly off the rails after these past few games. However, he still leads the Kings in scoring with 14 points through the first 23 games. Even still, his defensive play must improve in order for him to stay afloat in a drowning Kings roster. It's entirely possible we see Kovalchuk on the trade block if the Kings see him as a poor fit moving forward.