Peeking at LA Kings' salary cap future

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doughtyjohnson.jpgIt’s natural to say “the Los Angeles Kings will be back next year and are a team of the future” as a light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel statement following their tough Game 6 loss. In fact, that was more or less my message last night. That being said, the team is reaching a crucial fork in the road; they can either squander their considerable, growing talent or make all the right moves to jump from a threat to a true contender.

Let’s take a look at the team’s salary cap situation and see which decisions will have an impact on the 2010-11 season … and beyond.

Los Angeles Kings 2010-11 Salary Cap Commitments (Figures taken from

Forwards (7 of 12): Kopitar ($6.8 million), Smyth (6.25), Handzus (4), Stoll (3.6), Williams (3.5), Brown (3.1), Simmonds (822K)

Defense: (6 of 6): Doughty (3.48), Scuderi (3.4), Greene (2.95), Johnson (1.43), Drewiske (617K), Harrold (583K)

Goalies: (2 of 2): Quick (1.8), Ersberg (750K)

Buyout: McCauley (666satanK)

Total Cap Hit: $43.813 million

Cap space if cap remains the same: $15.83 million

Key Free Agents: Alexander Frolov, Fredrik Modin, etc.

Most notable prospects: J. Bernier (843K), O. Moller (875K),B. Schenn (3.14), Hickey (1.32), Teubert (946K)

After the jump, I analyze the Kings’ cap situation and some key choices that must be made.

Of course, with such a young team, there are pluses and minuses. The good thing is that they can affordably fill their roster with the Hickeys and Teuberts of the world (if they’re ready). The bad news is that Drew Doughty stands to see a staggering raise (what’s reasonable for him? A $6 million cap hit? Or maybe 7 or 8?) and Jonathan Bernier could also see some serious bank if he has a great season at the NHL level next year. On the other bright side, though, Jonathan Quick (1.8 through 2012-13) and Dustin Brown (3.17 until 13-14) are wrapped up for a few bargain years. It always helps to have some bargain contracts.

If I were Los Angeles, I’d take the opportunity to sign Doughty the second they can extend him. Teams are allowed to sign players to extensions the year before they can become restricted free agents, which is what the Penguins did with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin and what the Washington Capitals did with Alex Ovechkin. By re-signing Doughty to a big extension, they would send a message to both their team (“See, we reward our talent”) and free agents (“We’ll pay to win”).

Beyond extending Doughty and deciding the future of other contracts that will expire after next season in Bernier, Johnson and so on, the Kings face the more immediate decision of Alex Frolov. Things haven’t always been peachy with the Russian forward, but he still brings some skill to the table. They could either re-sign him or consider nabbing a free agent forward such as Patrick Marleau or Ilya Kovalchuk. Whatever way they go, The Kings must make sure that they can afford Doughty and that other in-house decisions are made before they paint themselves into a salary cap corner.

Oh, and I would also stay away from Kovalchuk. That’s just one man’s opinion.

Kings GM says Mike Richards went into ‘a destructive spiral’

Mike Richards
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The Los Angeles Kings may owe Mike Richards money until 2031 (seriously), but in settling his grievance, the team and player more or less get to turn the page.

Kings GM Dean Lombardi ranks among the NHL’s most outspoken executives. Even so, his discussion of what he calls Richards’ “destructive sprial” is a staggering read from the Los Angeles Times’ Lisa Dillman.

“Without a doubt, the realization of what happened to Mike Richards is the most traumatic episode of my career,” Lombardi said in a written summation he provided to the Los Angeles Times. “At times, I think that I will never recover from it. It is difficult to trust anyone right now – and you begin to question whether you can trust your own judgment. The only thing I can think of that would be worse would be suspecting your wife of cheating on you for five years and then finding out in fact it was true.”

Lombardi provides plenty of eyebrow-raising statements to Dillman, including:

  • He believed he “found his own Derek Jeter” in Richards, a player who “at one time symbolized everything that was special about the sport.”
  • Lombardi remarked that “his production dropped 50 percent and the certain ‘it’ factor he had was vaporizing in front of me daily.” (Bold claim: the production part was probably the bigger sticking point.)
  • The Kings GM believes that he was “played” by Richards.

… Yeah.

Again, it’s a powerful read that you should soak in yourself, even if you’re unhappy with the Lombardi and the Kings handled the situation.

Maybe the most pressing of many lingering questions is: will we get to hear Richards’ side of the story?

Coyotes exploit another lousy outing from Quick

Jonathan Quick
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Despite owning two Stanley Cup rings, there are a healthy number of people who aren’t wild about Jonathan Quick.

Those people might feel validated through the Los Angeles Kings’ first two games, as he followed a rough loss to the San Jose Sharks with a true stinker against the Arizona Coyotes on Friday.

Sometimes a goalie has a bad night stats-wise, yet his team is as much to blame as anything else. You can probably pin this one on Quick, who allowed four goals on just 14 shots through the first two periods.

Things died down in the final frame, but let’s face it; slowing things down is absolutely the Coyotes’ design with a 4-1 lead (which ultimately resulted in a 4-1 win).


A soft 1-0 goal turned out to be a sign of things to come:

Many expected the Kings to roar into this second game after laying an egg in their opener. Instead, the Coyotes exploited Quick’s struggles for a confidence-booster, which included key prospect Max Domi scoring a goal and an assist.

It’s worth mentioning that Mike Smith looked downright fantastic at times, only drawing more attention to Quick’s struggles.


After a troubled summer and a failed 2014-15 season, Los Angeles was likely eager to start things off the right way.

Instead, they instead will likely focus on the fact that they merely dropped two (ugly) games.