Mitchell: ‘No idea’ if he’ll be back with L.A.


After winning the second Stanley Cup of his career, Willie Mitchell knows he wants to keep playing hockey.

Where he’ll play, though, is less clear.

“I have no idea on that yet,” Mitchell said, per NHL.com. “Ask Dean [Lombardi, Kings GM] about that. There’s lots of moving parts. There’s Willie Mitchell the player. There’s the salary cap. And then, as a GM, you structure the team so hopefully you can have success over a long period of time. So I get it.

“If you’re asking me if I want to play hockey? Hell yeah.”

Mitchell’s value to the Kings can’t be understated. Two years ago, he scored a career-high 24 points and averaged a whopping 25:19 in the playoffs as the Kings won their first ever Cup; after missing the entire 2013 campaign with knee issues, he returned this season and was a regular fixture on the L.A. blueline, playing more than 20 minutes a night during the regular season before upping that to 22:20 in the playoffs (despite missing eight games with an undisclosed injury.)

The Kings, though, do have some cap issues.

The 37-year-old Mitchell just wrapped his two-year, $7 million deal and, per NHL.com, is reportedly looking for another two-year pact this time around. It’s safe to assume he’d be looking for similar money, which begs the question — can L.A. give it to him?

The Kings have 18 players under contract for next season at around $57 million, per CapGeek. That leaves around $13 million to fill out the roster and hopefully bring back playoff scoring ace Marian Gaborik, who won’t come cheaply. New deals are also needed for RFAs Dwight King and Linden Vey, and it remains to be seen what L.A. will do with another veteran blueliner in UFA Matt Greene.

As for Mitchell, all he knows is that he wants to keep going.

“To be honest, I think this playoff is probably the best hockey I’ve played,” he said. “I think this one around it felt even better, which, for me, is a big personal accomplishment after missing last year with a couple of knee surgeries.”



Another Sabre hurt: Gionta (lower body) day-to-day

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On the eve of their season opener, the Buffalo Sabres got another bit of bad health news.

Captain Brian Gionta missed practice and is day-to-day with a lower-body injury, per head coach Dan Bylsma. The ailment puts the 36-year-old’s availability for Thursday’s game against Ottawa in jeopardy.

The ailment also puts Gionta alongside a slew of hurting Sabres. Defensemen Zach Bogosian and Josh Gorges were on the injured list when Buffalo’ roster was released this morning, along with rookie Brendan Guhle and veteran Cody McCormick.

There is a bright light for Buffalo, however.

Gorges skated on Wednesday and could possibly dress tomorrow, per Bylsma. If he does play, it’ll likely be on a pairing with Rasmus Ristolainen.

Blues put Berglund on LTIR, use savings to sign Gomez

Scotte Gomez
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As was the case last season, Scott Gomez accepted a professional tryout offer because he went unsigned over the summer and once again he has used that opportunity to extend his career.

The St. Louis Blues announced that they have signed Gomez to a one-year contract. They didn’t disclose the financial terms, but it’s a two-way deal that comes with a base salary of $575K at the NHL level, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Jeremy Rutherford.

In order to free up the space necessary to sign him, St. Louis moved Patrik Berglund to the long-term injured reserve list. Berglund had shoulder surgery in August and isn’t expected to be available until January.

Gomez, 35, is coming off of a resurgence campaign where he recorded 34 points in 58 games on a Devils’ team that finished near the bottom of the pack offensively. The two-time Stanley Cup champion will be bringing more than a 1,000 games worth of NHL experience to St. Louis.

He’s not the only veteran forward to make the team off of a PTO as the Blues signed Scottie Upshall on Monday.