Erik Karlsson

Norris winner Karlsson to leave Finnish team

Erik Karlsson’s time in Finland is coming to a close.

Karlsson, the Ottawa defenseman currently playing with SM-liiga club Jokerit, has announced he’ll leave the Finnish league when his contract expires on Saturday.

The Ottawa Citizen reports the reigning Norris Trophy winner will return to his native Sweden and wait for the NHL lockout to end.

“Erik was excellent, we were very happy and it was a pleasure having him,” Jokerit GM Jarmo Kekäläinen said via e-mail. “He will be missed. Good player and a great guy.”

Karlson has been a dynamic scorer for Jokerit — 27 points in 27 games — and played a key role in the club’s increased attendance. Kekäläinen said the club was averaging 9,600 fans per game this season, “a lot higher” than figures from 2011-12.

It’s understandable why Karlsson wants some downtime prior to the (possible) start of the NHL campaign. This will mark the first season of his seven-year, $45.5 million extension, one that carries at $6.5 million cap hit annually.

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.