The Columbus Blue Jackets have locked up one of their key restricted free agents, agreeing to terms with forward Artem Anisimov on a three-year deal.
According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the deal is for $9.85 million, an average annual cap hit of $3.28 million.
“Artem is a big part of our team and we’re very pleased to sign him to this extension,” GM Jarmo Kekalainen said in a statement. “He’s an extremely dependable two-way center with a dynamic skill set and we think he will be a key contributor to our club in the coming years.”
Anisimov, 25, finished third on the team in goals (11) and points (18) last season, despite playing in just 35 games due to a variety of injuries.
The Russian forward — acquired by Columbus from New York as part of the Rick Nash deal — was in the final season of his two-year, $3.75 million deal that carried a $1.875 million annual cap hit.
What’s interesting is this deal is slightly less than rumors suggested it would be.
Yesterday, Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch reported he heard the new deal was “in the “$3.5M-$4M range,” suggesting Anisimov was looking at an overall payday of $10.5 to $11 million.
Update: Portzline reports Anisimov will earn $2.75 million in 2013-14, $3.1 million in 2014-15 and $4 million in 2015-16. Also worth noting the deal does not include any no-trade/movement clauses.
The Los Angeles Kings may owe Mike Richards money until 2031 (seriously), but in settling his grievance, the team and player more or less get to turn the page.
Not before Kings GM Dean Lombardi shares his sometimes startling perspective, though.
Lombardi has a tendency to be candid, especially in the press release-heavy world of sports management. Even by his standards, his account of Richards’ “destructive sprial” is a staggering read from the Los Angeles Times’ Lisa Dillman.
“Without a doubt, the realization of what happened to Mike Richards is the most traumatic episode of my career,” Lombardi said in a written summation he provided to the Los Angeles Times. “At times, I think that I will never recover from it. It is difficult to trust anyone right now – and you begin to question whether you can trust your own judgment. The only thing I can think of that would be worse would be suspecting your wife of cheating on you for five years and then finding out in fact it was true.”
Lombardi provides plenty of eyebrow-raising statements to Dillman, including:
- He believed he “found his own Derek Jeter” in Richards, a player who “at one time symbolized everything that was special about the sport.”
- Lombardi remarked that “his production dropped 50 percent and the certain ‘it’ factor he had was vaporizing in front of me daily.”
- The Kings GM believes that he was “played” by Richards.
Again, it’s a powerful read that you should soak in yourself, even if you’re unhappy with the way the Kings handled the situation.
Maybe the most pressing of many lingering questions is: will we get to hear Richards’ side of the story?
Despite owning two Stanley Cup rings, there are a healthy number of people who aren’t wild about Jonathan Quick.
Those people might feel validated through the Los Angeles Kings’ first two games, as he followed a rough loss to the San Jose Sharks with a true stinker against the Arizona Coyotes on Friday.
Sometimes a goalie has a bad night stats-wise, yet his team is as much to blame as anything else. You can probably pin this one on Quick, who allowed four goals on just 14 shots through the first two periods.
Things died down in the final frame, but let’s face it; slowing things down is absolutely the Coyotes’ design with a 4-1 lead (which ultimately resulted in a 4-1 win).
A soft 1-0 goal turned out to be a sign of things to come:
Many expected the Kings to roar into this second game after laying an egg in their opener. Instead, the Coyotes exploited Quick’s struggles for a confidence-booster, which included key prospect Max Domi scoring a goal and an assist.
It’s worth mentioning that Mike Smith looked downright fantastic at times, only drawing more attention to Quick’s struggles.
After a troubled summer and a failed 2014-15 season, Los Angeles was likely eager to start things off the right way.
Instead, they instead will likely focus on the fact that they merely dropped two (ugly) games.