Yesterday, new Kings GM Rob Blake told reporters the club wouldn’t be buying out Marian Gaborik’s contract, because the veteran winger had undergone a medical procedure.
Today, the club shed more light on the situation.
L.A. announced that Gaborik recently underwent an “in-depth medical procedure for a chronic issue related to his left knee,” adding the 35-year-old would be questionable for the start of training camp.
Gaborik’s had left knee problems dating back to 2013, when he was a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets. He missed nearly 20 games during the ’13-14 campaign, then had more knee troubles at the tail end of ’15-16 (with the Kings).
Since injured players can’t be bought out of their contracts, Gaborik could very well open the year on LTIR, providing the Kings with some much-needed cap space.
And though Blake said next season would “be a clean slate for Marian to come in and prove himself,” there has to be some question if he’ll return.
Gaborik struggled through this season, scoring just 10 goals in 56 games while missing extensive time with a foot injury suffered at the World Cup. Health issues have dogged him throughout his 17-year career, and he’s only dressed in 110 of 164 games over the last two seasons.
Because of this, his contract has become an albatross. Signed by ex-GM Dean Lombardi, Gaborik’s seven-year, $34.125 million deal still has four years remaining, at a $4.875M cap hit. Gaborik would be 39 by the time the deal expires on July 1, 2021.
In other L.A. injury news, three players also underwent medical procedures recently. Tyler Toffoli and Derek Forbort had knee surgery, while Alec Martinez had “a minor medical procedure for a chronic issue related to his groin.” All three are expected to be ready for camp, however.