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With new owner, Coyotes GM feels ‘in the game’ for free agency


Phoenix general manager Don Maloney has a message for this year’s crop of free agent: We’re not going anywhere, so let’s chat.

And if you can put the puck in the net, let’s really chat.

The Coyotes, of course, just received the vote they needed from the City of Glendale that should keep them playing in Arena for at least five more years.

Though the club’s long-term future remains somewhat up in the air, there’s more stability now than there’s been in quite some time.

“Now I feel we’re in the game as much as New York and Chicago and Boston and Toronto and any of these teams. We have a lot to sell down here, a tremendous place to work and play,” Maloney told ESPN’s Craig Custance yesterday. “It’s the best fall, spring and winter in the NHL, a good building, great coach and good program. That’s exciting for us.”

Granted, one agent told Custance that the five-year out clause that’s part of the Coyotes’ new lease is “definitely a complication” for the club.

But compared to what Maloney has had to dance around before, that’s nothing.

The Coyotes are in the market for scoring forwards, by the way.

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.