Zach Trotman

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Looking to make the leap: Derek Forbort

This is part of Los Angeles Kings day at PHT…

The Kings have one of the most experienced, veteran rosters in the NHL with some pretty big contracts in place. That combination usually means there isn’t a lot of room for new blood to break into the lineup. One younger player that should be competing for a roster spot this season is going to be the team’s 2010 first-round draft pick, defenseman Derek Forbort.

He finally made his NHL debut for the Kings last season, appearing in 14 games where he recorded two points (one goal, one assist) and posted some pretty dominant possession numbers in limited playing time.

Given his age, the fact he will be eligible for waivers this season, and that he really doesn’t have anything left to prove in the American Hockey League, this is going to be a big training camp for Forbort to potentially earn a spot on the NHL roster.

Standing in his way is going to be the fact the Kings have quite a few defenders locked into roster spots on the blue line, while they also have some veteran players looking to earn playing time on the blue line. He’s also trying to make a roster that tends to lean toward more experienced players when it comes to playing time.

Even though the defense is pretty crowded at this point and a roster spot is going to be tough to come by, it wouldn’t be the worst thing for the Kings to work in a little bit of youth on their blue line, especially when it comes to their third pairing where the options right now include Rob Scuderi, a player who is clearly a shell of his former self and played for three different teams a year ago, and Matt Greene, a player that is coming off of a 2015-16 campaign where he played in just three games.

They also veterans Tom Gilbert and Zach Trotman competing for playing time.

Defense in the NHL now is as much about skating ability and moving the puck as it is about playing well in your own zone, and a lot of the veteran guys they have competing for those depth spots don’t really fit that mold. You need players that can handle defensive roles, but you can’t anchor your team with players that don’t have the speed and mobility to keep up in today’s game. If the Kings decide to stick with Scuderi or Greene in those depth spots, they might be running that risk. Plus, they probably don’t want to risk losing a younger asset that could still have a future like Forbort to waivers for no return.

PHT’s 2016 free-agent frenzy tracker

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Welcome to Thunderdome!

Come embrace the madness with us. Throughout the weekend, we’ll be keeping tabs on all the UFA signings across the NHL, so check back regularly for all the biggest signings, trades and other acquisitions.

Saturday, July 2

— New York Islanders sign P.A. Parenteau: one year, $1.25 million (link)

— Toronto signs Roman Polak: one year (link)

— Florida signs Jason Demers: five years, $22.5 million, $4.5M AAV (link)

Friday, July 1

— Boston signs Riley Nash: two years, $1.8 million, $900,000 AAV

— Vancouver signs Jayson Megna: one year, $600K

— San Jose signs Mikkel Boedker: four years, $16 million (link)

— Los Angeles signs Teddy Purcell: one year, $1.6 million (link)

— Detroit signs Steve Ott: one year, $800,000

— Winnipeg signs Brian Strait: one year, $600,000

— Arizona signs Ryan White: one year, $1 million

— Ottawa signs Mike Blunden: two years, $$1.475 million, $737,500 AAV

— Detroit signs Thomas Vanek: one year, $2.6 million (link)

— Minnesota signs Victor Bartley: one-year, $650,000

— Montreal signs Daniel Carr: two years, $1.45 million, $725,000 AAV

— Toronto signs Matt Martin: four years, $10 million, $2.5M AAV (link)

— Winnipeg signs Quinton Howden: one year, $650,000

— Tampa Bay signs Gabriel Dumont: one year, $575,000

— Nashville signs Matt Irwin: one year, $575,000

— Vancouver signs Philip Larsen: one year, $1.025 million

— Dallas signs Patrick Eaves: one year, $1 million

— Arizona signs Kevin Connauton: two years, $2 million, $1M AAV

— Carolina signs Viktor Stalberg: one year, $1.5 million (link)

— Carolina signs Lee Stempniak: two years, $5 million, $2.5M AAV (link)

— Nashville signs Yannick Weber: one year, $575,000

— Montreal signs Zach Redmond: two years, $1.225 million, $612,500 AAV

— L.A. signs Michael Latta: one year, $600,000

— L.A. signs Zach Trotman: one year, $650,000

— Winnipeg signs Shawn Matthias: two years, $4.25 million, $2.125 AAV

— Los Angeles signs Jeff Zatkoff: two year, $1.8 million, $900,000 AAV

— Washington signs Brett Connolly: one year, $850,000

— Colorado signs Fedor Tyutin: one year, $2 million (link)

— Colorado signs Patrick Wiercioch: one year, $800,000 (link)

— Colorado signs Joe Colborne: two years, $5 million, $2.5M AAV (link)

— New York Rangers sign Adam Clendening: one year, $600,000 (link)

— New York Rangers sign Nathan Gerbe: one year, $600,000 (link)

— New York Rangers sign Michael Grabner: two years, $3.2 million, $1.6M AAV (link)

— New Jersey signs Jon Merrill: two years, $2.275 million, $1.137M AAV (link)

— New Jersey signs Devante Smith-Pelly: two years, $2.6 million, $1.3M AAV (link)

— New Jersey signs Beau Bennett: one year, $725,000 (link)

— Dallas signs Dan Hamhuis: two year, $7.5 million, $3.75M AAV (link)

— Los Angeles signs Tom Gilbert: one year, $1.4 million (link)

— Philadelphia signs Dale Weise: four year, $9.4 million, $2.35M AAV (link)

— Montreal signs Alexander Radulov: one year, $5.75 million (link)

— Calgary signs Chad Johnson: one year, $1.7 million (link)

— Montreal signs Al Montoya, one year, $950,000 (link)

— Edmonton signs Jonas Gustavsson, one year, $800,000 (link)

— Boston signs Anton Khudobin: two years, $2.4 million, $1.2M AAV (link)

— San Jose signs David Schlemko: four years, $8.4 million, $2.1M AAV (link)

— Minnesota signs Chris Stewart: two years, $2.3 million, $1.15M AAV (link)

— New York Islanders sign Jason Chimera: two years, $4.5 million, $2.25M AAV (link)

— New Jersey signs Vern Fiddler: one year, $1.25 million (link)

— New Jersey signs Ben Lovejoy: three years, $8.1 million, $2.66 AAV (link)

— Arizona signs Jamie McGinn: three years, $10 million, $3.3M AAV (link)

— Boston signs John-Michael Liles: one year, $2 million (link)

— St. Louis signs Carter Hutton: two years, $2.25 million, $1.125M AAV (link)

— Minnesota signs Eric Staal: three years, $10.5 million, $3.5M AAV (link)

— Detroit signs Frans Nielsen: six years, $31.5 million, $5.25M AAV (link)

— Calgary signs Troy Brouwer: four years, $18 million, $4.5M AAV (link)

— Boston signs David Backes: five years, $30 million, $6M AAV (link)

— Vancouver signs Loui Eriksson: six years, $36 million, $6M AAV (link)

— Buffalo signs Kyle Okposo: seven years, $42 million, $6M AAV (link)

— Edmonton signs Milan Lucic: seven years, $42 million, $6M AAV (link)

— Florida signs James Reimer: five years, $17 million, $3.4M AAV (link)

— St. Louis signs David Perron: two years, $7.75 million, $3.875M AAV (link)

— New York Islanders sign Andrew Ladd: seven years, $38.5 million, $5.5M AAV (link)

— Pittsburgh re-signs Steve Oleksy: one year, $575,000 (link)

— Pittsburgh re-signs Tom Sestito: one year, $575,000 (link)

— Chicago signs Brian Campbell: one year, $2 million (link)

— Detroit re-signs Darren Helm: five years, $19.25 million, $3.85M AAV (link)

Previous deals of note

Steve Stamkos re-signs in Tampa Bay: eight years, $68 million, $8.5M AAV (link)

Trevor Lewis re-signs in Los Angeles: four years, $8 million, $2M AAV (link)

Drew Miller re-signs in Detroit: one year, $1.025M (link)

Jordie Benn re-signs in Dallas: three years, $3.3 million, $1.1M AAV (link)

Keith Yandle signs in Florida: seven years, $44.45 million, $6.35M AAV (link)

Kyle Brodziak re-signs in St. Louis: two years, $1.9 million, $950,000 AAV (link)

Scottie Upshall re-signs in St. Louis: one year, $900,000 (link)

Alex Goligoski signs in Arizona: five years, $27.5 million, $5.475M AAV (link)

Cam Ward re-signs in Carolina: two years, $6.6 million, $3.3M AAV (link)

 

 

 

Kings stay busy, bring back veteran winger Purcell

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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.

Third time’s a charm: Houda back to Detroit, this time as assistant coach

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Didn’t take the Red Wings long to fill a vacancy on Jeff Blashill’s coaching staff — and, what’s more, they did it with a familiar face.

On Tuesday — one day after GM Ken Holland cut ties with goalie coach Jim Bedard, and re-assigned assistant Pat Ferschweiler — the Wings announced that Doug Houda, the longtime Boston assistant that spent six years of his playing career with Detroit, has signed a three-year deal.

Houda will serve as one of Blashill’s two assistants next season, with the other spot still to be filled. And while Detroit said Houda’s role on the bench is still “unclear,” it stands to reason he’ll inherit at least some of ex-assistant Tony Granato’s responsibilities.

Last year, Granato was in charge of the Wings’ defensemen and penalty kill,

In his first eight seasons with the B’s, Houda ran the blueline and the club’s power play.

But in his last two years with Boston, Houda was removed from his special teams role and focused solely on the defense. In April, he was the only coach dismissed after the B’s failed to make the playoffs for a second consecutive year.

There were some who felt Houda was unfairly scapegoated for Boston’s defensive issues over the last two campaigns.

Those critics pointed to losing two key pieces — Johnny Boychuk and Dougie Hamilton — the slowing down of Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg, and a slew of young, inexperienced replacements (Colin Miler, Joe Morrow, Zach Trotman) as the main reasons Boston’s defense struggled recently.

Not Houda.

“Doug Houda is a great coach,” Claude Julien told the Boston Globe last month. “Doug Houda will coach again in this league. The players loved him.”

Houda, 50, was Detroit’s second-round pick in 1984, and appeared in over 160 games for the organization before getting traded to Hartford in 1991.

In 1998, he was traded back to the Red Wings (from Anaheim), and registered his final NHL point that season.

B’s recall Colin Miller, and he’ll play tonight versus Carolina

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Rookie defenseman Colin Miller has been called up from the AHL and will play tonight for the Boston Bruins against Carolina.

Kevan Miller will also play for the B’s, while Dennis Seidenberg will miss another contest due to injury.

With both Millers playing, that means Joe Morrow and Zach Trotman will come out. Morrow had a costly giveaway in Boston’s 6-4 loss to Chicago on Sunday.

The Bruins’ back end has been under the microscope all season. With just three games left and a playoff spot on the line, it seems that storyline will remain one. Boston hosts Detroit in a huge game Thursday before finishing its schedule Saturday at home to Ottawa.

“When a team wants to get itself back on track, which we have to do this week, you’ve got to trust whatever word you want to use — game plan, system,” coach Claude Julien told the Boston Globe. “You’ve got to trust it.

“You’ve got to respect it and go and do it so that everybody’s on the same page. That just minimizes breakdowns. That’s the focus we have to have this week. Let’s trust our game plan and our system here. Let’s execute it the best we can. The rest will take care of itself.”

Colin Miller’s last NHL game was on Feb. 14. Waiver exempt, he was returned to the AHL when Adam McQuaid was activated off injured reserve.

The B’s made room for Miller by sending forward Seth Griffith to Providence.