Calgary Flames v Los Angeles Kings

Risk worth reward? Kings have core group locked up long-term


Playoff success has come to the L.A. Kings over the past two years, so it’s not really a surprise general manager Dean Lombardi has locked up the core of the team for the long term.

A quick scan of shows seven players from the Kings roster are locked into contracts with three or more years remaining on the term. Last month, Lombardi sided over the contract extension of L.A.’s captain Dustin Brown, who signed an eight-year, $47 million deal.

He joins Anze Kopitar, Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, Drew Doughty, Slava Voynov and Jonathan Quick as Kings players on long-term contracts. Of those seven, three will remain in their 20s – their late 20s – when their contracts expire.

All totaled, that is $37.9 million tied up in seven players for next season alone. In 2014-15, Brown’s annual cap hit will actually increase from the $3.175 million of his current contract to $5.875 million when his new deal kicks in.

But their playoff success – a Stanley Cup championship in 2012 and a Western Conference final appearance in 2013 – is the reason Lombardi wanted to keep this group together for more than just one or two winning seasons.

“It wasn’t only building it, but trying to keep it together and then fit it under the cap,” Lombardi told the Canadian Press back on July 18.

“You’re never done. It wasn’t just about becoming a good team. It was doing these type of things so that you could, in the end, build a culture, have an identity.

“You’ve got to really trust the character of your players that they’re inherently competitive and they’re not going to get complacent.

“Whether it’s Doughty or Kopitar or Quick or Richards or Carter and now Browny, I am a 100 per cent that there is not going to be complacency in these kids.”

It looks like Havlat won’t make Panthers

Martin Havlat
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As PHT’s mentioned before, the Florida Panthers stand as a fascinating contrast between youth and experience.

Let’s not kid ourselves, though; fresh faces usually beat out gray beards, at least when it comes to teams that are still trying to build toward contender status.

While it’s by no means official, two Panthers beat writers – the Miami Herald’s George Richards and the Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Harvey Fialkov – report that the Panthers are likely to pass on Martin Havlat.

It wasn’t just about the likes of Jonathan Huberdeau and Nick Bjugstad leading the charge. Other young Panthers (maybe most notably Quinton Howden and Connor Brickley) made the team, thus making Havlat less necessary.

One would assume that it might be tough for the 34-year-old to find work, at least if he insists upon only an NHL deal.

Health issues continue to dog him, but he’s no longer one of those guys who tantalizes with talent when he is healthy enough to play.

Havlat also doesn’t really bring much to the table defensively. While other veterans can kill penalties and show a little more verstaility, Havlat’s greatest selling point is scoring.

Could this be it for a solid career that may nonetheless end with a “What if?” or two?

Silfverberg is set to practice again after Torres hit

Jakob Silfverberg
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Considering all of the controversy surrounding the 41-game suspension for Raffi Torres, some might have lost track of the guy who received that hit: Jakob Silfverberg.

The good news is that, at the moment, it seems like he’s OK.

The Anaheim Ducks announced that he skated on his own and will be involved in the team’s next practice:

That falls in line with some of the fall-out from the hit, as head coach Bruce Boudreau let out a relieved “thank goodness” at the young forward seemingly dodging a bullet.

Here’s video of the hit and the suspension decision:

Silfverberg, 24, enjoyed a nice breakout in 2014-15, especially during the playoffs.

Keep in mind that injuries can sometimes crop up later than expected, especially potential head injuries/concussions. Still, it seems like the initial reaction is that the damage was minimal.