Los Angeles Kings

Getting clutch? Capitals sign Justin Williams for two years, $6.5M

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Fair or not, Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals are associated with losing “the big game.” With that in mind, is there any better way to change that than by adding “Mr. Game 7?”

In one of the surprises on a free agent frenzy that’s actually amounted to a series of pretty reasonable deals, it sounds like the Capitals got Justin Williams at a very reasonable price. The two-year pact is worth just $6.5 million ($3.25 million cap hit per season), the team confirmed.

When Williams was on his way to winning the 2014 Conn Smythe Trophy, it seemed preposterous to picture him not making a big raise from his old cap rate of $3.65 million.

It turns out that was true … but unexpectedly, he’ll make even less. Wow.

The Montreal Canadiens and Los Angeles Kings were also in the running for Williams, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

A down year

There’s no denying that Williams, 33, fell short of having a strong contract year.

Most obviously, the Kings missed the playoffs and basically faced one disaster after another. Williams saw a slight decrease in regular season production (from 43 points in 2013-14 to 41 last year) and his outstanding playoff performances must have faded from some minds. One could argue that, like Antoine Vermette, Williams didn’t sign a deal at the height of his earning power.

Even so, Williams is more than just a guy who scores big goals. He’s frequently been a possession monster, even standing out on a puck-hogging team like the Kings.

With the Pittsburgh Penguins making a splashy trade to get Phil Kessel and the Caps adding Williams on the cheap, the Metropolitan Division is shaping up to be fascinating in 2015-16.

Have we already seen the best bargain of the summer?

Kings pick up Enroth to back up Quick

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After trading away Martin Jones, the Los Angeles Kings have signed a backup for Jonathan Quick.

Jhonas Enroth is the new No. 2, inking a one-year deal reportedly worth $1.25 million.

Enroth spent 2014-15 split between Buffalo and Dallas. The 27-year-old finished with a record of 18-26-2, 3.07 goals-against average and .904 save percentage.

Those aren’t great numbers, but on a better defensive team, Kings management will be hoping they can improve.

Oilers get Sekera for six years, closing in on Letestu

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For all the talent they boast up front, and after acquiring Cam Talbot to try and shore up the goaltending, the Edmonton Oilers still needed to address their defense.

They started to do that today by signing veteran blue-liner Andrej Sekera to a long-term deal:

Sekera, 29, split last season between Carolina and Los Angeles. He was traded to the Kings in February, but couldn’t help the then-defending champions into the playoffs.

The Oilers’ defense will continue to change. Nikita Nikitin and Andrew Ference won’t be around much longer, while young Darnell Nurse will be brought into the fold.

Edmonton is also reportedly close to signing center Mark Letestu.

Sharks sign Jones to a three-year, $9 million extension

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The San Jose Sharks have signed pending restricted free agent goaltender Martin Jones to a three-year, $9 million deal, PHT has confirmed.

Jones, who was dealt by the L.A. Kings to the Boston Bruins at the NHL Draft, was acquired by the Sharks from the Bruins on Tuesday.

The 25-year-old has appeared in 34 career NHL games all with the L.A. Kings. Jones was 4-5-2 to go along with a 2.25 G.A.A. and a .906 save percentage in 15 appearances last season.

“I think I’m ready to definitely take that step and play more hockey games,” Jones said during a conference call on Tuesday. “I had a great two years in L.A. learning from Jonathan Quick. It’s been a big couple of years in my development and I’m looking forward to the new challenge.”

Jones is expected to challenge Alex Stalock for the starting role in San Jose next season.

“It’s going to be fun to be honest with you,” Jones said. “You get to play those guys a lot. Obviously, they have a great team. To be able to play those guys is fun. I’m looking forward to it.”

Report: Richards’ border incident involved oxycodone

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After an earlier report from ESPN cited that Richards is part of an “ongoing investigation” by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, further details have come to light, according to TMZ.

It states:

NHL officials have been notified that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police investigation into ex-L.A. Kings player Mike Richards involves the prescription drug oxycodone … multiple sources tell TMZ Sports.

Our sources say Richards was stopped while crossing from the United States into Canada on June 17th … and we’re told he was questioned about oxycodone pills, a powerful painkiller.

Richards hasn’t been charged with a crime and Canadian officials aren’t commenting due to privacy laws. Additionally, the Los Angeles Kings haven’t offered any details on the situation, although they have terminated his contract due to a “material breach.”

Prior to his contract being terminated, Los Angeles was in trade negotiations with the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames. When Kings GM Dean Lombardi became aware of the situation though, he brought those talks to an end.

“He came right over to me,” Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli told ESPN. “He pulled me aside and said, ‘Hey, Pete, this is going to come out. I had no idea. This is important you know so that talks [don’t go any] further.’”

The NHLPA issued a statement that they “are in the process of reviewing the facts” before they determine their course of action.