The Los Angeles Kings were forced to dress just five defensemen on Saturday because Robyn Regehr was injured and they were $160 shy of being able to call up a replacement. That’s not the first time the Kings have been put in a difficult situation due to the salary cap and Kings GM Dean Lombardi has taken issue with the reason why.
The Kings’ problem is that defenseman Slava Voynov’s $4.1 million annual cap hit is still counting against them despite the fact that he’s been suspended indefinitely.
“How long is this supposed to go on? It’s clear that the system is dysfunctional,” Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi told the Los Angeles Times.
“It has nothing to do with what he did. What he did is off to the side. That’s indefensible. But if a guy does steroids — that’s indefensible in its own right, too, but they’re separate issues — you immediately get the cap space. What’s ridiculous about this, if he gets convicted we get the cap space. If he doesn’t, we’re in never-never land. We get nothing. It’s totally dysfunctional.”
Lombardi wasn’t throwing out steroids as a random example. Toronto forward Carter Ashton is serving a 20-game suspension for violating the terms of the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program, but the Maple Leafs aren’t responsible for his cap hit while he’s being punished.
“We’ve lost one of our top players. We get it,” Lombardi said. “If he gets convicted, he’s out. We get the space. Toronto’s guy clearly does something out of bounds, they immediately get the space. How is this logical?”
Lombardi emphasized that his issue is with the handling of the cap situation, not with the suspension itself.
NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly suggested on Monday that the NHLPA has “not been inclined to agree to offering any relief.” The union has stated that they’ve been talking with the league about the issue.