Vincent Lecavalier

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Kings stay busy, bring back veteran winger Purcell

Los Angeles capped off a busy — if not unspectacular — opening day of free agency with perhaps its most significant signing of the bunch.

Journeyman Teddy Purcell, who broke in with the Kings nine years ago, signed a one-year, $1.6 million deal, per TVA.

Purcell, 30, split last year between Edmonton and Florida, finishing with 14 goals and 43 points in 76 games. He produced reasonably well upon getting dealt to the Panthers at the deadline — 11 points in 15 regular season contests — and had two goals in the club’s opening-round playoff loss to the Islanders.

A former 24-goal, 65-point scorer, Purcell probably won’t hit those marks with the Kings, but should have a chance for some quality offensive opportunities. Forwards gone from last year’s team include Milan Lucic, Kris Versteeg and Vincent Lecavalier, and there’s no telling how Dustin Brown will respond to getting stripped of the captaincy this offseason.

In short, there are quite a few question marks up front for the Kings. That could be a positive for Purcell.

As mentioned above, the Purcell deal was one of many for Los Angeles today. The club also signed defensemen Zach Trotman and Tom Gilbert, checking forward Michael Latta and backup goalie Jeff Zatkoff.

Lecavalier keeps his promise and announces retirement

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Vincent Lecavalier — after 1,212 NHL games and one Stanley Cup title — has retired.

“As I publicly announced at the time I was traded to the Los Angeles Kings, the 2015/16 season would be my last in the NHL,” the 36-year-old said in a statement. “I recently informed the Kings that I am stepping away from the game and will no longer play professional hockey. It is my desire and intention to retire.”

The Tampa Bay Lightning made Lecavalier the first overall pick in 1998. He won the Cup with them in 2004. He added a Rocket Richard Trophy in 2007 when he led the NHL with 52 goals.

But his production started to wane as he got into his late 20s, to the point he was left off Team Canada’s 2010 Olympic squad. In the summer of 2013, his contract was bought out by the Lightning. He then signed with the Flyers, intending to play for head coach Peter Laviolette, only for Laviolette to be fired three games into the 2013-14 season. It was not a good match between Lecavalier and the new coach, Craig Berube.

The Kings acquired Lecavalier, along with defenseman Luke Schenn, in January. They made the trade with the understanding that Lecavalier would retire this summer so that they would not be stuck with his contract, which prior to its termination ran through 2017-18 for a cap hit of $4.5 million.

“Hockey has provided me so much in my lifetime but requires an incredible commitment,” said Lecavalier. “It is now time for me to devote more time to my family.”

Potential free agent Milan Lucic wants to ‘remain a King’

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The Los Angeles Kings may have fallen short of their Stanley Cup goals in 2015-16, but that doesn’t mean Milan Lucic didn’t enjoy his time there.

Lucic, who can become a free agent on July 1, seems to be dead set on returning to Los Angeles next season and beyond.

“Obviously there are two months until July 1, so hopefully something can get done here so that I can remain a King moving forward into the future,” Lucic said, per LAKingsInsider. “That’s something that I’ve expressed that I really want to happen. Like I said, I really enjoy being an L.A. King and everything that it has to offer, and hopefully it can get done here in the near, near future.”

Lucic was acquired from the Bruins at last year’s NHL Entry Draft and he enjoyed a pretty productive first year on the West Coast. The 27-year-old finished the season with 20 goals and 55 points in 81 games.

The Kings already have $66.397 million committed to next year’s cap (that doesn’t include the relief from Vincent Lecavalier’s retirement), which means Lucic will probably have to take less money to stay in Los Angeles. Lucic is coming off a three-year, $18 million deal, but the Kings were only on the hook for $3.25 million this season. It sounds like Lucic might be willing to take a discount.

“The sooner the better,” Lucic said of getting a deal done. “To be honest, I really don’t have much interest into hitting the open market or even hearing what’s out there, because in my mind this is where I want to be. Why flirt with something when you know what you want? That’s the case for me moving forward.”

With Anze Kopitar‘s $10 million cap hit kicking in next season, it’ll be interesting to see if the Kings can make the numbers work for Lucic.

Vincent Lecavalier says he’s going to retire

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When the Los Angeles Kings made that slightly startling trade to acquire Vincent Lecavalier, the plan was for the veteran to retire. Some solid work with Los Angeles apparently didn’t change that plan.

While the former Tampa Bay Lightning star hasn’t actually made it official as far as paperwork goes – he told reporters that the Kings’ playoff exit is still a little “too fresh” on his mind – he’s sticking to his guns about retiring.

He finishes his career with a Stanley Cup ring, four All-Star nods and a Maurice Richard Trophy. He generated 949 points in 1,212 regular season games between the Lighting, Philadelphia Flyers and Kings.

The Hall of Fame debate should be intriguing.

Sharks do what they couldn’t in 2014 and that’s close out the Kings

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The San Jose Sharks have done it. They have eliminated the L.A. Kings.

The events of the past provided a compelling storyline heading into this series. The Sharks had the Kings on the ropes in 2014, up 3-0 in the series, before the Kings marched all the way back to win in seven games. Even Drew Doughty couldn’t resist referencing it following his team’s only win of this round.

The Sharks have exorcised whatever demons they might’ve had brought on by their collapse two years ago against their California rivals, doing so with a 6-3 road victory in Game 5 and a 4-1 series win.

“Throughout the last couple of years, things have been said by players on that team that to me, personally, I take it as disrespectful,” said Sharks forward Logan Couture, as per Associated Press.

“So it was nice to stick it back to them and beat them in this series. Even this series, someone was saying on their team that they had us right where they wanted us. I wonder if they’ve got us where they want us right now? So it was nice to beat them.”

On Friday, the Sharks jumped out to a three-goal lead and could’ve made it four but Patrick Marleau flubbed his attempt on a penalty shot.

Moments later, the Kings once again started the comeback attempt. It began with an Anze Kopitar goal and ended with Kris Versteeg tying it with just over three minutes remaining in the second period.

The Sharks didn’t crumble. Instead, they took back the lead for good in the third period. Joonas Donskoi, a force throughout this series, powered his way around Doughty, then buried the pass from Brent Burns. That turned out to be the winner.

Then, the dagger. Joe Pavelski scored his fifth goal of the series, sliding a puck through the legs of Jonathan Quick on a shot the Kings goalie should’ve stopped.

In the end, San Jose’s best players were better. Pavelski had five goals, Burns had three assists in Game 5 and has six helpers and eight points in these playoffs. Goalie Martin Jones outplayed his former teammate Quick.

As for the Kings, their blue line was stretched thin with the injury to Alec Martinez early in the series. And could this be the final game for 36-year-old Vincent Lecavalier? It was reported after the Kings acquired him from Philadelphia that Lecavalier would retire at the end of this season.