The Los Angeles Kings have an interesting summer ahead of them, but before tackling the bigger questions they got one significant task off their plate by signing defenseman Brayden McNabb to a two-year extension, per the Kings’ PR Twitter feed.
McNabb was eligible to become a restricted free agent after completing his two-year, $1.3 million contract. His new contract will come with an annual cap hit in the $1.7-1.75 million range, according to LA Kings Insiders’ Jon Rosen.
The 25-year-old blueliner primarily played with Drew Doughty at even strength over the course of the 2015-16 campaign, but to call him a first-pairing defenseman would be a bit misleading. McNabb certainly saw his role increase substantially in 2015-16 when compared to the previous season, but he ranked fourth among Kings defensemen in terms of minutes per game with 18:48. It’s worth adding that McNabb was used considerably more in the first half of 2015-16, but he saw his role decline significantly as the season progressed, in part due to the acquisitions of Luke Schenn and Rob Scuderi.
McNabb was also limited to 14 points, down from 24 in 2014-15, but the 6-foot-4, 216-pound defender utilized his size by being a physical presence. Although sometimes he was aggressive to a fault as his 92 penalty minutes demonstrates.
This can ultimately be seen as a bridge contract and if he continues to develop he might be in line for a much bigger payday once this deal is done.
The Kings now have five defensemen signed to one-way contracts and two more blueliners — Schenn and Jamie McBain — that are eligible to become unrestricted free agents. Los Angeles is also facing the possibility that it might lose Milan Lucic if he tests the open market.