Earlier today, Kings General Manager, Dean Lombardi signed defenseman Slava Voynov’s to a six-year, $25 million contract extension. This move proves to be the first of a busy off-season for the Kings, and now that the biggest piece of the puzzle has been placed, those surrounding the Kings and watching the situation have a bit of a clearer idea of what may play out.
Now the Kings still have ten players set to become free agents on July 5th. Seven of those players are set to become restricted free agents and the remaining three will become unrestricted free agents. Those players becoming restricted free agents are; Jonathan Bernier, Jake Muzzin, Keaton Ellerby, Alec Martinez, Jordan Nolan, Trevor Lewis and Kyle Clifford. While those set to become unrestricted free agents are; Dustin Penner, Brad Richardson and Rob Scuderi.
Let’s assume that Bernier is all but gone and will be traded before the free agency. That leaves nine players that need new contracts and with Voynov’s contract pushing the Kings’ salary cap to $56.76 million, that leaves $7.54 million to get the remaining guys under a new contract.
Lombardi has some work to do.
Last season Lombardi was able to bring back every roster player that carried the Kings to their first Stanley Cup Championship in franchise history. It definitely looks like things are going to be different this year and there will have to be some one that is the odd man out this year.
Voynov’s cap hit is not as bad as some people thought it could have ended up being, but with the money left, the amount of guys and if the Kings want Scuderi back something is going to have to give.
Here is a breakdown of what the Kings’ roster looks like, courtesy of MayorsManor.com.
Dustin Brown – Anze Kopitar – Justin Williams
Mike Richards – Jeff Carter – Tyler Toffoli
Dwight King – Jarret Stoll – [open, LW3]
[open, LW4] – Colin Fraser – [open, RW4]
Robyn Regehr – Drew Doughty
Willie Mitchell – Slava Voynov
[open, D5] – Matt Greene
Three healthy scratches (none signed at the moment)
The next major piece to the puzzle will be if the Kings resign Scuderi. He is in line to make some good money this summer, money that he will have to go else where if he wants it because the Kings simply don’t have it. But lets assume Scuderi does not come back, which is the way I think it is going to play out.
Signing Regehr I think will negate the loss of Scuderi, and if Mitchell can make it back into the starting line-up by the start of next season the Kings are looking good and shouldn’t really miss him. Then all that is needed is one more defenseman, likely Muzzin who seemed to steal away Martinez’s spot this season. But I do feel Martinez takes one of those healthy scratches in the end as well.
Now the fun stuff, the front end. I’m almost positive that Nolan and Lewis will be returning and Penner might, but will likely take a pay cut. Also, I believe in all of the hype around a trade with the Flyers that will send Bernier to Philly and bring back a forward, whether that is Matt Read or not, we will have to wait and see, but that would take that final spot up front.
That final back-up goalie spot could be settled with a trade later in the summer, or through the free agency which is the more probable route.
That would end with Scuderi, Richardson, Ellerby and Clifford on the outside looking in. None of the players that I said resign with the Kings would break the bank when signing their new contract and it would still resemble the team that won the Stanley Cup last season.
What are your thoughts? Who stays and who goes?