NHL Rumors: Kovalchuk, Tkachuk, Ducks, More

In today’s NHL rumor rundown there are updates on the unhappiness of Ilya Kovalchuk, news on Matthew Tkachuck and his next contract with the Calgary Flames and an updated out of Anaheim when it comes to the future of both Ryan Kesler and Patrick Eaves.

Kovalchuk: “I Don’t Have a Chance”

Curtis Zupke of the LA Times is reporting that Ilya Kovalchuk is still very much unhappy with his situation in Los Angeles and used words like “it’s horrible” and “I don’t have a chance” when describing what he’s seeing with the team and his role on it.

Los Angeles Kings left wing Ilya Kovalchuk
Los Angeles Kings left wing Ilya Kovalchuk (Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports)

Since coach Willie Desjardins has made forward Kovalchuk a healthy scratch of late, things have gotten worse. Kovalchuk doesn’t’ understand the mentality, saying, “But they’re not playing young guys… They’re playing seven D,” when trying to explain why he’s not on the ice.

Kovalchuk added that he doesn’t understand why he was moved off of Anze Kopitar’s line. They played a few games together and scored all five games but the coach decided to change things up and that was it for him. He doesn’t agree with the decision and added, “He’s the head coach and he’s responsible for results.”

The kicker here is that Kovalchuk doesn’t really want to go anywhere. He said his family has settled in nicely to the area and he hasn’t even thought about playing for another team.

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Tkachuk Could Be Highest Paid Calgary Flame

Darren Dreger was on Ottawa’s TSN 1200 and was asked about Calgary Flames Matthew Tkachuk and what his next contract might look like with the team. Dreger believes Tkachuk is a shoe-in to become the team’s highest paid forward.

Matthew Tkachuk #19 of the Calgary Flames
GLENDALE, ARIZONA – MARCH 07: Matthew Tkachuk #19 of the Calgary Flames awaits a face-off during the third period of the NHL game against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on March 07, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. The Coyotes defeated the Flames 2-0. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Dreger explained that things aren’t the same since Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan signed their deals and said, “Well, it has to be above what Monahan and Gaudreau are making. I think it could be 8.5-to-9. And that’s just all about timing and developing at the right time as well.”

Dreger added that while the Flames might not want to make him a higher-paid player than their two biggest stars, he added that he doesn’t think the Flames are going to have much choice but to pay him.

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Bad News for Ducks’ Kesler and Eaves?

GM and interim head coach Bob Murray issued a statement recently offering an update on the status of both Ryan Kesler and Patrick Eaves and it doesn’t look good if you’re a Ducks fan. Murray said of Kesler, “I doubt strongly you’ll see him again this year.”

Ryan Kesler, NHL, Anaheim Ducks
Is it even possible that Ryan Kesler would be moved this season? (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

As for Eaves, he continues to struggle with the effects of a condition similar to Guillain-Barre Syndrome and recently “had a setback” and is “struggling”. At this point, returning to hockey at all might be a question mark and that they are focusing on getting him back to the ability to live a normal life.

In both cases, it appears Murray was saying Kesler and Eaves’ seasons are over.

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Quinn Hughes to Play Soon?

It looks like Canucks prospect Quinn Hughes might play soon as his recent testing came back negative for a broken bone in his foot. He could still make his debut before the end of the regular season.

On the plus side of the injury, Hughes cannot burn a year of his entry-level deal or become eligible for the 2021 expansion draft now that the Canucks have just eight games remaining in the regular season.