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.”

NHL has no plans to change waiver rules

Manny Malhotra Ryan Stanton
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Even with all the young players that have been healthy scratches this season, don’t expect the NHL to change its waiver rules.

Deputy commissioner Bill Daly told PHT in an email that it’s not something that’s “ever been considered.”

“For better or worse that’s what waiver rules are there for,” Daly wrote. “They force Clubs to make tough decisions.”

Today, Montreal defenseman Jarred Tinordi became the latest waiver-eligible youngster to be sent to the AHL on a two-week conditioning loan.

Tinordi, 23, has yet to play a single game for the Habs this season. If he were still exempt from waivers, he’d have undoubtedly been sent to the AHL long before he had to watch so many NHL games from the press box.

In light of situations like Tinordi’s, some have suggested the NHL change the rules. Currently, the only risk-free way for waiver-eligible players to get playing time in the AHL is via conditioning stint, and, as mentioned, those are limited to 14 days in length.

So the Habs will, indeed, need to make a “tough decision” when Tinordi’s conditioning stint is up. Do they put him in the lineup? Do they keep him in the press box and wait for an injury or some other circumstance to create an opportunity for him to play? Do they risk losing him to waivers by attempting to send him to the AHL? Do they trade him?

Your call, Marc Bergevin.

Related: Stanislav Galiev is stuck in the NHL

Ortio clears waivers, assigned to Flames’ AHL team

Joni Ortio
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Joni Ortio has cleared waivers and been assigned to AHL Stockton, the Calgary Flames announced today.

The 24-year-old goalie was always likely to clear, what with his dreadful numbers this season (0-2-1, .868),

But we suppose there was always the chance he’d get picked up, so it’s a relief for the Flames all the same. With a little more time to hone his game in the AHL, Ortio could still turn out to be a quality NHL netminder.

In a related move, veteran goalie Jonas Hiller has been activated from injured reserve. Hiller and Karri Ramo are the only goalies on the Flames’ active roster now.

Price placed on injured reserve; Yakupov to miss 2-4 weeks with sprained ankle

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Two injury updates in one post.

First, the situation with Montreal goalie Carey Price, who was hurt last night versus the Rangers.

According to Canadiens coach Michel Therrien, Price has been placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury. That means he’ll be out at least a week, though no exact timeline was provided.

“We don’t know how long Carey will be out, but for us it’s business as usual,” said Therrien.

Mike Condon will get the start tomorrow in New Jersey.

As for Oilers forward Nail Yakupov, he’ll be out 2-4 weeks after spraining his ankle last night in Carolina while getting tangled up with a linesman.

Getzlaf didn’t love the ‘dead’ atmosphere at Coyotes game

Martin Erat, Ryan Getzlaf

Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf wasn’t impressed with at least two things last night in Arizona:

1. His team’s performance in a 4-2 loss to the Coyotes.
2. The atmosphere inside Gila River Arena, where the announced attendance was just 11,578.

“It’s hard. When you come into a building … it’s dead,” Getzlaf told the O.C. Register. “Nothing against the fans. It’s hard to fill a big building like this and have the amount of people in it to build your energy. So you have to do it yourself. You have to be ready when you step on the ice. I thought we came out flat.”

Anaheim’s record fell to 8-11-4 with the defeat.

The Coyotes’ average attendance also fell, to 13,144 in eight games.