L.A. Kings GM Dean Lombardi, who has already taken the NHL to task this season, lobbed another complaint at the league on Tuesday — this time, regarding the Canadian dollar’s affect on next year’s salary cap.
“It’s a matter of how all these pieces fit into the puzzle,” Lombardi told the L.A. Times, in speaking about his club’s cap situation. “Then we also have this whole thing with the Canadian dollar. I’ve been talking to other GMs about that. It’s a crazy way to run a cap.
“Do I need a stat guy or do I need a currency trader to figure this out?”
Lombardi is referencing statements made by Gary Bettman at All-Star weekend in Columbus, during which the commissioner said next year’s salary cap would be affected by the (slumping) Canadian dollar, but clarifying it wouldn’t cause the cap “to fall off a cliff.”
Bettman said that if the Canadian dollar continues to trade around $0.80 USD (as it is currently), next season’s salary cap ceiling would be $71.6 million. If the Canadian dollar is at $0.82 USD, the cap ceiling would be $72.2 million.
(Back in early December, the league pegged next year’s cap number at $73 million.)
The Kings have been pressed up against the cap ceiling for a while and, recently, waived high-priced center Mike Richards before sending him to AHL Manchester, which relieved them of $925,000 of Richards’ $5.75M cap hit.
Lombardi had another cap-related complaint earlier this season. In early November, he called the system “dysfunctional” after the Kings were forced to carry Slava Voynov’s $4.1 million hit despite the Russian rearguard being suspended indefinitely following a domestic assault arrest.
Two weeks after the “dysfunctional” remark, Lombardi was at it again.
“As this case makes clear, we must now do one and/or two things. We must build in a cushion in case one of our players is a bank robber, kleptomaniac, etc,” he said, per the O.C. Register. “The seemingly better alternative is, we have to do a better job of educating our players and, in particular, monitoring our players away from the rink.
“While monitoring them away from the rink may have the Orwellian connotation of ‘Big Brother’ oversight, that is the nature of the sports business in the cap era.”
Financially speaking, L.A. will be a team to watch this offseason. The club has several big decisions to make on key players, including the reigning Conn Smythe winner in Justin Williams (a UFA on July 1) and two highly-coveted RFAs in Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli.