Hitchcock ready to return to coaching

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Hitch1.jpgAllan Maki of the Globe & Mail has an interesting note on Ken Hitchcock up today, especially in light of Jacques Lemaire’s announced retirement.

“I’ll move to the back of the bus and I’ll wait my turn (for a coaching
position),” Hitchcock said. “Columbus has offered me a senior advisor
position and I don’t even know what it is yet.”

Hitchcock was fired by the Blue Jackets just before the Olympics, yet he is still under contract for two more years. With four coaching jobs already open around the NHL, Hitchcock’s name will certainly be brought into the discussion. Keeping him withing the organization will ensure that Columbus actually be paying Hitchcock to work for them.

Even if he is available for other coaching positions, you wonder how many teams would be interested. Hitchcock struggled with success in Columbus as he continued to preach his defensive system, one that is perhaps a bit outdated in today’s NHL. Hitchcock, for a long time, was no doubt one of the best coaches in the game, but there comes a time when new blood is needed. With plenty of AHL coaches worthy of the promotion, expect their names to get the call.

Kings grab goalie insurance by signing Budaj

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 22: Jhonas Enroth #1 and Peter Budaj #31 of the Los Angeles Kings stretch before a game against the Arizona Coyotes at STAPLES Center on September 22, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NHLI via Getty Images)
via Los Angeles Kings
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In slightly less interesting Los Angeles Kings news than the latest in the Mike Richards fiasco, the team handed Peter Budaj a one-year, two-way deal on Friday.

The veteran goalie’s contract pays $575K on the NHL level and $100K in the AHL (though it’s $150K guaranteed), according to Hockey’s Cap.

At the moment, it sounds like Budaj will be third on the Kings’ goalie depth chart. That says as much about how things have been going lately for Los Angeles than Budaj’s work on a PTO.

As noted above, one of the more significant moves in Budaj’s favor came when the New York Islanders claimed Jean-Francois Berube off of waivers this week.

The Kings actually waived Budaj before signing him, so this has to be a relief to a goalie with a fairly robust resume as a backup.

All apologies to Budaj, but it’s probably true that the Kings would prefer not to see him at the NHL level very often in 2015-16.

Kings, NHLPA announce settlement in Richards grievance

Los Angeles Kings v New York Rangers

The Los Angeles Kings announced today that they have “reached an agreement with Mike Richards to resolve the grievance filed in relation to the termination of his NHL Standard Players Contract. The terms are agreeable to all parties.”

The club said that it will not be commenting further “on the terms” of the settlement.

The NHLPA released a similar statement.

It was reported earlier in the week that a settlement was close to being reached; however, it wasn’t clear what salary-cap penalties the Kings would incur.

We’re starting to find out some details now:

How the final numbers differ from what the Kings would have incurred if they’d bought Richards out will be interesting to see. And if there are differences, how will they be justified?

Stay tuned.