Report: Kings remove Kovalchuk from lineup for foreseeable future
The 36-year-old is welcome to practice with the club but will not be seeing any game action, Friedman adds.
Kings general manager Rob Blake would only say Kovalchuk was a healthy scratch against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night, according to The Athletic's Lisa Dillman.
Kovalchuk, who left the NHL in 2013-14 to play professionally in his native Russia, signed a three-year, $18.75-million pact with Los Angeles prior to the 2018-19 season.
The 6-foot-3 marksman has failed to meet expectations in his return to North America, tallying 19 goals and 43 points over 81 games with the Kings.
Head coach Todd McLellan called out his club in October, specifically stating there were "some veterans that really have to pick up their play."
This isn't the first time the Kings have removed Kovalchuk from the lineup. He was a healthy scratch this past March under former bench boss Willie Desjardins, a decision Kovalchuk deemed "horrible."