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
Derek Stepan might lack a little in the way of negotiating power as a restricted free agent, but the New York Post’s Larry Brooks believes that he recently received a big boost in leverage.
In Brooks’ mind, the big seven-year, $52 million deal ($7.5 million cap hit) Ryan O’Reilly signed with the Buffalo Sabres will leave the New York Rangers in a “cap vise” thanks to its comparables regarding Stepan:
A number than starts with a “7” for Stepan is all but untenable for the Rangers as they are constructed. An award that’s closer to starting with an “8” than a “7” would place the ’15-16 Blueshirts’ roster in a cap vise. Beyond that, an arbitration award almost certainly starts the clock ticking on Stepan’s Broadway expiration date two years hence.
As Brooks notes, it’s plausible that Stepan, 25, may indeed file for salary arbitration by today’s deadline.
Even if this doomsday scenario gets downgraded to things being really tight, Brooks has a point about possible domino effects for the Rangers. General Fanager pegs the Rangers’ cap space at about $10.2 million, so anything in the $7 million range would start to make things uncomfortable, especially since New York still has other RFAs to consider in J.T. Miller, Emerson Etem and Jesper Fast.
Could that force the team’s hand in trading someone like Keith Yandle? Might the Rangers need to make more like the Chicago Blackhawks and move Stepan’s rights instead?
Yes, this speculation could turn out to be excessive worrying, especially if Stepan decided to take a slight “hometown discount” to stay on a contending team/help keep his team in contention.
Even so, if Stepan’s reps use O’Reilly’s extension as a measuring stick, the Rangers might indeed be sweating it.
The Anaheim Ducks filled out their coaching staff on Tuesday with the hiring of Paul MacLean, now they’re looking to add to the their front office.
According to hockey insider Darren Dreger, the Toronto Maple Leafs have granted the Ducks permission to hire Dave Nonis as an advisor.
Nonis was fired by the Leafs along with interim head coach Peter Horachek on April 12.
The 49-year-old joined the organization as the club’s senior vice-president and director of hockey operations in December 2008. When Brian Burke was fired in January 2013, Nonis was promoted to the GM’s role.
Under Nonis’ leadership the Leafs qualified for the playoffs once in three seasons.
Nonis previously held the title of senior advisor of hockey operations with the Anaheim Ducks from June to December of 2008.
Current Ducks GM Bob Murray and Nonis have worked together previously with the Ducks and the Vancouver Canucks.
Nonis was first linked to Anaheim last month by the Vancouver Sun.
The Philadelphia Flyers have signed goaltender Jason LaBarbera to a one-year, two-way deal, the club announced.
The 35-year-old split the 2014-15 season between the Anaheim Ducks and Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League.
In five appearances with the Ducks, LaBarbera went 2-0-1 while posting a 2.61 G.A.A. and a .909 save percentage. He was 9-16-7 in 34 games with the Admirals to go along with a 2.62 G.A.A. and a .912 save percentage.
LaBarbera became expendable in Anaheim after the Ducks signed Matt Hackett.
With the signing of LaBarbera, Rob Zepp’s time in the Philadelphia organization is likely over. The 33-year-old is currently an unrestricted free agent.
LaBarbera will likely be tasked with helping Anthony Stolarz develop with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. LaBarbera would be the Flyers’ first call up should an injury occur to Steve Mason or backup Michal Neuvirth.
Despite the fact he’s never played a game for them, Korbinian Holzer has been re-signed by the Ducks.
Holzer, a trade deadline acquisition from Toronto, has signed a one-year, $750,000 extension with Anaheim, the club announced on Thursday.
The German rearguard suffered a concussion just prior to getting dealt, an injury that sidelined him for the remainder of the season. Though he was eventually cleared to play, that clearance came during the playoffs, making it difficult for Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau to insert Holzer into the lineup.
When healthy, Holzer was a decent contributor for the Leafs. He had six points in 34 games, averaged 17 minutes per night and has good size (6-foot-3, 205 pounds).
In Anaheim, he’ll be battling for a seventh d-man job, possibly with the likes of Josh Manson and former first-round pick Shea Theodore.