While groups from Seattle, Las Vegas, Toronto and Quebec City are expected to apply for NHL expansion teams, one from Kansas City is not.
From Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star:
The NHL has vaguely mentioned Kansas City as a possible expansion market, and the Sprint Center’s lack of an anchor tenant makes this a natural question. But, as best I can tell, no one from or representing Kansas City will be among those submitting bids for a team to play here.
Lamar Hunt Jr., who owns the ECHL’s Missouri Mavericks, a minor-league hockey team that plays in Independence, called the NHL’s $500 million price tag for an expansion franchise “a ridiculously big fee,” and said that he is not aware of anyone in Kansas City who will make a push for a team.
The Sprint Center opened in 2007 and seats around 17,500 for hockey. It currently has no full-time tenants, though the Pittsburgh Penguins flirted with the idea of moving in a few years ago.
Related: Got $500 million? NHL to begin ‘formal expansion review process’
The Toronto Maple Leafs have signed forward Shawn Matthias to a one-year contract worth a reported $2.3 million.
Matthias finished with a career-high 18 goals last season in Vancouver, and he did so in a bottom-six role with barely any time on the power play.
Th 27-year-old can play either center or wing, making him a good match for a team that may or may not trade center Tyler Bozak.
Matthias could also net the Leafs something at the trade deadline, a la Daniel Winnik and Mike Santorelli this past season. That’s assuming Toronto’s out of the playoff picture at that time.
Kings center Anze Kopitar is “in the early stages of negotiations for what will probably be a lengthy contract extension,” reports the Los Angeles Times.
Kopitar, along with Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos, headline the top pending unrestricted free agents of next summer. Also in that group are Eric Staal, Dustin Byfuglien, Ryan Kesler, Jakub Voracek, Brent Seabrook and Milan Lucic.
For the Kings, if Kopitar re-signs, it’ll be another long-term contract on the books. Los Angeles currently has seven players locked up through at least 2019-20.
Kopitar, 27, will almost certainly become the Kings’ highest cap hit. At present, that belongs to Drew Doughty, at $7 million through 2018-19.
Related: Toews, Bergeron, Kopitar are the Selke Trophy finalists