After he played a key role in them winning the Stanley Cup, the Los Angeles Kings didn’t want to let Marian Gaborik slip through their fingers as an unrestricted free agent. They managed to avoid that fate by signing him to a seven-year contract.
He will earn a little more than $34 million and come with a cap hit just below $5 million annually, according to Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos
When Gaborik joined the Kings, their ability to find the back of the net was a serious and ongoing concern, but he fit in almost instantly. He scored 14 goals and 22 points in 26 playoff games and provided the Kings with the flexibility to split up Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter, giving the team a two strong scoring lines. Los Angeles ended up averaging 3.38 goals per game in the playoffs compared to 2.42 in the regular season.
Gaborik’s offensive abilities were hardly a revelation as he has reached or surpassed the 30-goal mark seven times, but the 32-year-old also has a lengthy injury history. For that reason, signing him through his late 30s is a considerable risk for the Kings.
That being said, he’s accepting a significantly smaller average salary than he’s enjoyed in the past, which is critical as Los Angeles attempts to keep its championship roster intact without reaching the cap ceiling.
Update: His exact average annual salary will be $4.875 million, per ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun
Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.
We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.
It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”
Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)
Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.
So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”
… You get the idea.
The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.
The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.
Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.
It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.
The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.
As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.
Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?
The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.
This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.