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.

Alumni rosters announced for Bruins-Habs at Gillette Stadium

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The Winter Classic Alumni Game is back this year, scheduled for New Year’s Eve at Gillette Stadium between former members of the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins.

Today, the NHL announced the rosters and coaching staffs.

Famous ex-Habs that will take to the outdoor ice include Larry Robinson, Guy Carbonneau, and Mats Naslund. Behind the bench will be Yvan Cournoyer, Jacques Demers and Guy Lafleur, among others.

The home side will counter with Bruins legends Ray Bourque, Cam Neely, and “Nifty” Rick Middleton, while Don Cherry, Mike Milbury, and Derek Sanderson will be among the coaches. (Quite a trio of personalities right there.)

Here are the full rosters:


NBCSN will broadcast the alumni game nationally in the United States, while Sportsnet and TVA Sports will have it in Canada.

The 2016 Winter Classic will be played the next day (on NBC).

Goalie nods: Andersen’s ‘flu-like symptoms’ mean Khudobin starts versus Flames

Anton Khudobin, Frederik Andersen
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With Frederik Andersen experiencing “flu-like symptoms” (PHT diagnosis: it might be the flu), the Anaheim Ducks will turn to backup Anton Khudobin for tonight’s home game versus Calgary.

Khudobin could, in turn, be backed up by Josh Gibson, recalled today from AHL San Diego. The Ducks have officially listed Andersen as “questionable.”

Khudobin (3-3-0, .917) has not started a game in over a week. His last action came exactly a week ago, after Andersen got the hook versus Nashville.

Andersen may or may not travel with the Ducks for tomorrow’s game at Arizona.

The Ducks, of course, are coming off a 5-0 loss to Tampa Bay, a result that produced the following quote from Ryan Kesler:

After a four-game winning streak to start November, Anaheim has since dropped five of its last seven.

Karri Ramo will be in net for the Flames. After a terrible start to the season, he’s been much better lately, allowing just eight goals combined in his last four starts.


Craig Anderson for the Senators. Antti Niemi for the Stars.

Torts: Jackets still need more ‘bite’

John Tortorella

The hope was that the Columbus Blue Jackets would be jolted into a great, long winning streak, and their season would be saved.

The reality of John Tortorella’s first month behind the bench has been, well, reality. The Jackets are 8-7-0 since Todd Richards was fired. Better than 0-7-0, sure, but at 8-14-0 overall, they remain last in the Eastern Conference.

Fifteen games in, Tortorella is still trying to get his message across.

“A big reason why we bring them in (to practice yesterday and today) is because we don’t have a full understanding of the standard we need to be at in all areas of the game,” he told The Columbus Dispatch. “Some things you can’t control in our game, but it’s how hard you play, how hard you are with your bite as a team, and the pace you play with – you can control that.”

The Jackets play Wednesday in New Jersey, where they’ll look to shake off Sunday’s disappointing home loss to San Jose. Columbus held a 3-1 third-period lead in that one. The Sharks scored four straight to win 5-3.


— The Canucks need ‘more bite’

The Rangers are better when they have ‘more bite’

Sharks sign Zubrus, because DeBoer


The San Jose Sharks have signed forward Dainius Zubrus to a one-year, two way contract, the club announced today.

Zubrus was given a tryout with the Sharks last week.

The 37-year-old played 74 games with the Devils last season, scoring just four goals with six assists. His contract was then bought out.

According to a Mercury News source, the decision to sign Zubrus lay “mainly” with his former coach in New Jersey, now San Jose’s bench boss, Pete DeBoer.

“He looks good,” DeBoer said of Zubrus last week, per CSN Bay Area. “He looks close. It’s tough to find six-foot-four, 215-pound guys who can play. … He’s an easy guy to play because he’s defensively reliable. He plays a big possession, heavy game. There’s a lot to like there.”

In a related move, the Sharks have reassigned forward Nikolay Goldobin to the AHL.

Related: Where’s the depth in San Jose?