Minnesota Wild v Anaheim Ducks

Wild’s Harding ‘feeling a lot better’ after MS setback

Minnesota backup netminder Josh Harding is showing improvement after a recent setback with Multiple Sclerosis, according to Wild GM Chuck Fletcher.

“[He’s] feeling a lot better,” Fletcher told the Minnesota Star-Tribune. “Now it’s a question of getting back to strenuous physical activity, then getting back on the ice and seeing from there.

“Doctors are very confident we’ll get to a spot where he’s going to feel very good most days.”

Harding hasn’t appeared in a game for Minnesota since relieving Niklas Backstrom in the third period of a 4-1 loss to the Canucks on Feb. 7.

He was supposed to dress for a game against Vancouver on Feb. 12 but, prior to, informed the club he wasn’t feeling right.

“Just lately been feeling a bit off and we kind of knew this was a possibility,” Harding told NHL.com. “I’m not going to get into too many details about it right now.

“I’m a little off and the decision was made to take this one [game] off and take care of it right now.”

The Wild called up Darcy Kuemper from AHL Houston to play against Vancouver, and proceeded to put Harding on injured reserve.

Harding hasn’t been taken off IR yet, but with Minnesota riding Niklas Backstrom hard in recent weeks — he’s been the goalie of record in 16 of the last 18 games — the team might return Kuemper to Houston and bring up Matt Hackett.

“Darcy’s earned the right to be here and playing very well, but so is Hack and we want to make sure we don’t hurt Darcy’s development [by not playing him],” Fletcher said.

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.