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 CapGeek.com)

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.

Despite tough fight, Stars hand Wild their sixth straight loss

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The Minnesota Wild put together the kind of effort that would beat a lot of NHL teams on Tuesday. Unfortunately for that beleaguered group, it wasn’t enough to edge the Dallas Stars.

Despite generating 40 shots on goal and generating 1-0 and 2-1 leads, the Wild lost to the Stars 4-3 in overtime. With that, they’ve lost six straight games.

(The view doesn’t get much prettier if you pull away a little further, either, as Minnesota’s only won once in the last month, going 1-9-2 in their last 12.)

Ultimately, the Stars’ big guns were too powerful. Tyler Seguin generated two assists and so did Jamie Benn, who set up John Klingberg‘s overtime game-winning goal.

Again, the effort sure seemed to be there for the Wild, even if they’re far beyond the point of accepting moral victories.

As frustrating as this must be, Minnesota’s not that far from a playoff spot. Still, it has to sting to see “Close, but not good enough” as a prevailing theme as of late.

Royal beating: Lucic, Kings crush Bruins 9-2

As Boston Bruins' Patrice Bergeron (37) looks on Los Angeles Kings' Milan Lucic waves to the crowd after a tribute to him was played on the screen during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Boston Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
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The Boston Bruins welcomed Milan Lucic back on Tuesday. Maybe they shouldn’t have extended such a warm welcome to the Los Angeles Kings overall, however.

You won’t see many games as lopsided as this one, at least in 2015-16, as the Kings walloped the Bruins by a humbling score of 9-2.

Lucic wasn’t just there, either, as he scored a goal and an assist in his quite triumphant return to Boston.

Tuukka Rask had a short night in Boston’s net, yet it wasn’t as if Jonas Gustavsson enjoyed his time. It was a pretty sound beating by all accounts.

This dominant win is a heck of a way for the Kings to begin an imposing seven-game road trip, which continues against the New York Islanders on Thursday. The Bruins probably want to burn the tape on this one themselves, as they’re about to head on a six-game road trip.

Video: Evander Kane believes he won his fights vs. Alex Petrovic

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The Florida Panthers are beating up the Buffalo Sabres where it counts – on the scoreboard – but Evander Kane was happy to highlight his perceived victories in a couple bouts.

Buffalo’s power forward fought Alex Petrovic twice on Tuesday, and Kane wasn’t shy about holding up a “2-0.”

You can watch the second fight above, and the first one below, via Hockey Fights by way of MSG:

This GIF might just say it all, really:

Update: Apparently they fought again moments after this post went up.

Probably safe to call it a rivalry between the two, right?

The Panthers ultimately won 7-4.

Fight video: Yes, a visor-breaking punch

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Some hockey players resist the urge to wear a visor, at least if they’re given that choice.

Perhaps a few will say “Hey, Nathan Beaulieu will just punch it off anyway.”

Maybe not, but Beaulieu provided a rather unique moment in his fight with Cedric Paquette during the Montreal Canadiens – Tampa Bay Lightning game. You can watch that bout in the video above, and see a cut on the Lightning pest’s face from that blow.

Want it in GIF form? OK then: