Steven Stamkos got his contract, but there’s ‘nothing new’ regarding Drew Doughty’s negotations

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In the minds of many, Steven Stamkos and Drew Doughty’s restricted free agent negotiations are inexorably linked. The two young superstars even have the same representation (Newport Sports). The thought was that once one of the two signed, the other might follow like a domino.

With the big news of Stamkos’ signing in mind, many people (Los Angeles Kings fans especially) are waiting on pins and needles for news regarding Doughty’s negotiations. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be that simple; Helene Elliott reports that there’s “nothing new on the Doughty front.”

Stamkos’ deal won’t be the only barometer for Doughty

Saying that Doughty will fall in line just because Stamkos’ deal might have created some kind of “ceiling” overlooks the complications involved in the Kings’ situation. One important note is that Stamkos’ negotiations aren’t the only ones that might set some precedent for the Doughty deal. The most obvious other case is that of Nashville Predators blueliner Shea Weber.

While there are some clear differences between Weber and Doughty (age, style and overall team budget being three of the things that jump out the most), the two share the same position. That might provide more of a “road map” than Stamkos’ $7.5 million per year deal since the Lightning star is a center.

Why Doughty and the Kings are at an impasse

The latest Doughty update revealed that the Kings’ most recent offer was a nine-year deal that would total about $58.5 million, with a $6.5 million cap hit. That’s a hefty amount of money – just $1 million per year less than Stamkos will receive, with four more years of security – but rumors abound that Doughty wants to be the highest paid Kings player (Anze Kopitar’s annual cap hit is $6.8 million).

Giving Doughty close to $7 million per year might be too much for the Kings to stomach. Such an impasse might explain the disturbing finding that the two sides haven’t spoken since June 23.

The length of Stamkos’ deal might be the answer for both sides

When it comes down to it, the Stamkos deal’s term might be more of a measuring stick for the Kings and Doughty than his salary. By signing a five-year contract, Stamkos preserved his money-making future by making sure that the contract doesn’t bleed away his unrestricted free agent years. That might be the ticket for Doughty, then; take a $6-$6.5 million per year contract for a shorter term to open the doors to a bigger unrestricted free agent bounty. (Of course, the drawback for the Kings is that they would risk losing Doughty during a significant portion of his prime.)

Doughty’s situation should be interesting to follow, whether the Stamkos contract affects the negotiations or not. It’s easy to rave about Kings GM Dean Lombardi’s off-season moves thus far, but in the grand scheme of things, it all comes down to re-signing the biggest jewel in the team’s crown to a reasonable contract.

It looks like that might not be an easy task, though.

Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev to have season-ending knee surgery

Ilya Mikheyev
Bob Frid/USA TODAY Sports
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Vancouver Canucks right wing Ilya Mikheyev is set to have season-ending surgery on his left knee.

Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin said Friday night the 28-year-old Russian forward tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the team’s first preseason game Sept. 25. Mikheyev will undergo surgery next week and is expected to be ready for training camp in the fall.

Mikheyev was originally listed as week-to-week with the injury and played 45 regular-season games, finishing with 13 goals and 15 assists. He scored in his final appearance Friday night, a 5-2 home victory over Columbus.

Mikheyev signed a four-year, $19 million contract as a free agent last summer.

Maple Leafs’ Matthews out at least 3 weeks with knee injury

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Nick Turchiaro/USA TODAY Sports
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Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews will miss at least three weeks with a sprained knee.

The team announced the reigning MVP’s anticipated absence Friday, two days after Matthews was injured in Toronto’s victory against the New York Rangers.

Matthews is expected to miss at least six games and could be out for a few more. The timing of the injury coinciding with the NHL All-Star break and the Maple Leafs bye week prevents this from costing Matthews more time out of the lineup.

After being voted an All-Star by fans, Matthews is now out of the event scheduled for Feb. 3-4 in Sunrise, Florida. The league announced Aleskander Barkov from the host Florida Panthers will take Matthews’ place on the Atlantic Division All-Star roster.

Matthews, who won the Hart Trophy last season after leading the NHL with 60 goals, has 53 points in 47 games this season.

Caufield opted for surgery with Habs out of playoff race

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David Kirouac/USA TODAY Sports
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MONTREAL — Montreal Canadiens winger Cole Caufield said Friday he wouldn’t be having season-ending surgery on his right shoulder if the team were in playoff contention.

But with the Canadiens near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the 22-year-old Caufield said he decided to have the surgery to protect his long-term health. The procedure is scheduled to be performed by Dr. Peter Millett on Wednesday.

“I didn’t want to stop playing,” Caufield said. “I had a couple tests done to look at it more clearly but, in the end, like it could’ve been one more fall and it could have been even worse.”

Caufield, who leads the Canadiens with 26 goals in 46 games, had three different medical opinions on his shoulder before concluding that his season was over.

“I think they’ve seen a lot more than I have and they know the differences and what they like or don’t like about it,” he said about the medical opinions. “Long term, I think this is what’s best but for sure it was tough to sit out that game against Toronto on Saturday night.”

Caufield initially felt the injury in an awkward fall during Montreal’s 4-2 loss at Dallas on Dec. 23. He said his right shoulder popped, and he replaced it himself.

Caufield felt it again in the Habs’ 4-3 loss at Nashville on Jan. 12. The club announced on Jan. 21 that Caufield would miss the rest of the season.

Caufield is nearing the end of his three-year, entry-level contract and will be a restricted free agent this summer.

All-Star Matty Beniers to miss next 2 games for Kraken

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Joe Nicholson/USA TODAY Sports
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SEATTLE — Seattle Kraken rookie All-Star Matty Beniers will miss the team’s final two games before the All-Star break after taking a big hit from Vancouver’s Tyler Myers earlier this week.

Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said after morning skate Friday that Beniers would not play Friday night against Calgary or Saturday against Columbus. Hakstol did not speculate on Beniers’ availability for next weekend’s All-Star Game in Florida.

The team has not specified what kind of injury Beniers sustained from the hit. He was barreled over by Myers away from the play early in the second period in Wednesday’s 6-1 victory over Vancouver. Myers was penalized for interference on the play. Beniers returned briefly for one shift later in the period but did not play in the third period.

Beniers is Seattle’s lone All-Star selection this season. He leads all rookies in goals (17) and points (36), and is fifth in total ice time for rookies.

Seattle also placed defenseman Justin Schultz on injured reserve and recalled forward Max McCormick from Coachella Valley of the AHL. Hakstol said Schultz is improving but there’s no timeline on his return.