Toronto’s Carl Gunnarsson is ready to be more of a leader with the Maple Leafs.
At 26 years old he’s entering his fifth season in the NHL and he tells Jonas Siegel of TSN he’s eager to take a bigger role with the team and become one of their best defensemen.
“Some guys talk a lot, some guys don’t,” Gunnarsson said of leadership. “But if you can say something in the room that’s good or if you can just help the new guys out with whatever it might be … I’ve been here for awhile, had Randy for a season and a half. I’m one of those guys that kind of knows what it’s all about. And obviously I need to be reminded too, but if I can help some other guys get into it quicker that’s part of it.”
One of those “other guys” is a younger player like Jake Gardiner who had his own ups and downs with coach Randy Carlyle last year. While he’s talented, he was still a bit green and had his own ups and downs with the team. Gunnarsson wants to provide the stability his coach desperately seeks from his blue liners.
As for Gunnarsson himself, with Cody Franson still unsigned and a newer guy like Paul Ranger pushing to make the club, his steadiness will be needed.
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.
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?