Jose Theodore wins Masterton Trophy

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While it’s not an award that stands out as glitzy or glamorous like the Hart Trophy or the Norris Trophy, the Masterton Trophy is one that exemplifies best what it means to be a professional hockey player. The trophy goes to the player that “best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.”

This year, Washington Capitals goalie Jose Theodore was awarded the Masterton Trophy after what could only be described as a personally tragic year.

Theodore had to deal with some adversity on the ice at the end of last season, but that was forgotten when his infant son Chace passed away last summer from complications stemming from his premature birth. Theodore not only regained the starting job, he had his best season since winning the Hart and Vezina Trophies in 2002, capped by a 20-0-3 run over the final three months. Of far greater importance was the way he handled himself in the dressing room, with fans and the media, and with his new charity “Saves for Kids” which benefits the NICU unit of the hospital Chace spent his entire brief life in.

I can’t imagine what it would be like to go through anything like that in my personal life and be able to forge ahead and continue to play the sport I love at a professional and elite level. What many winners of the Masterton Trophy deal with and persevere through all that is truly remarkable and it’s incredible to see Theodore turn such a tragic loss into something big for the community through charity work.

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.