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Kovalchuk will be "go-to-guy" for kings



EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – Ilya Kovalchuk is a true top-six striker who can provide for the Kings of Los Angeles, coach John Stevens said on Friday.

"First of all, I think he's still a really good player," Stevens said of the 35-year-old striker who follows Kings' development camp. He's a great guy (6ft-3, 230lbs), so he gives you a big striker who can really score, he's known for his ability to play the puck once but I think if you look at his game, his passport skills are underestimated. "

Kovalchuk agreed to a three year contract with the Kings on June 24 and can sign him on July 1

st. He has not played in the NHL since 2012. 13 season when he had 31 points (11 goals, 20 assists) in 37 games with the New Jersey Devils, and spent the last five seasons playing with SKA St. Petersburg in the Kontinental Hockey League.

He scored 816 points (417 goals, 399 assists) in 816 NHL games in 11 seasons with the Atlanta Thrashers and Devils, including two 52-goal seasons, each with the Thrashers, in 2005-06 and 2007 -08. 19659003] The Kings hope that Kovalchuk can help after the goalless draw in the NHL per game this season (2.89).

Stevens does not expect Kovalchuk to reach more than 24 minutes per game in 2012/13, but sees the two-time NHL all-star battle with seasoned top-end strikers and likely co-players Power play

Video: Discussion of how Kovalchuk will fit the kings

"We do not play [Center Anze Kopitar ] 24 minutes, but I think he is We will be able to count on us in many important situations, "said Stevens. "He's going to be a star, no question, so we went out and got him."

Stevens said he recently phoned Kovalchuk and could meet with him later this summer.

Stevens also extended coaches who worked with Kovalchuk, including coach of San Jose Sharks Peter DeBoer, who coached Kovalchuk in his last two seasons in New Jersey.

"People are really talking about him and how good a teammate he is, and that's what we're looking forward to," Stevens said.

Stevens also said further Dustin Brown (shoulder) should be ready for the training camp after the operation on April 26 and continue Trevor Lewis (hand) is "100 percent farther" Surgery April 24th.

"[Brown] is where we thought he would be at that point," said Stevens. "We feel that he can be fully regenerated, fully trained, ready to go."

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