Free agency talk heats up at draft weekend

The focus of the hockey world was in Los Angeles this weekend, and it may yet again come on Thursday when the NHL’s free-agent market opens.

Sources confirmed to ESPN.com yet again on Saturday that the Kings will make an offer to the prized jewel of a thin market, star winger Ilya Kovalchuk. They tried to acquire his rights this weekend from New Jersey, but were denied since the Devils remain interested in trying to re-sign the Russian star.

On the back end, Los Angeles also has eyes on a top-four defenseman, and if Dan Hamhuis doesn’t sign with the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Kings will take a look at him. The Kings also like Maple Leafs defenseman Tomas Kaberle, but don’t have a fit with Toronto because the Leafs want a top-six forward in return (there were rumblings of Toronto being interested in Stars center Mike Ribeiro). That doesn’t make sense for a Kings team looking to add a top-six forward, not get rid of one.

Either way, expect the Kings to be in the thick of things come Thursday as the team attempts to add the final pieces to a rising Western Conference powerhouse.

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Kaberle to the Lightning

Erik Erlendsson

Overheard that #TBLightning are rumored to be in on Tomas Kaberle talks, but can’t see it happening unless money contract goes the other way

https://twitter.com/erlendssontrib/status/17037145582