John Erskine

Erskine is ‘top four’ on Washington’s blue line, says coach Oates


Veteran defenseman John Erskine is in no jeopardy of losing his spot in the Washington Capitals’ top four, according to head coach Adam Oates.

“He’s not losing his job,” Oates said, per CSNWashingtoncom. “He’s not. It’s not even up for grabs. He’s top four on our team.”

Erskine is a big, tough defensive defenseman who led all Washington blue-liners with 91 hits last season while providing what forward Troy Brouwer calls “that presence on the ice.” (See: image to the right)

The Caps do, however, have a couple of young d-men in Dmitry Orlov and Tomas Kundratek; hence, the speculation about Erskine’s role with the club for 2013-14.

Washington’s three other top-four d-men are Mike Green, John Carlson, and Karl Alzner.

Related: Watch Erskine rob the Jets…twice

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.