Los Angeles Kings: Offseason Armchair GM – 1st Edition


In this segment we will assume the position of Los Angeles Kings GM and presume some crazy moves the Kings will make this offseason.

The Los Angeles Kings season has been over for some time now.  The playoffs are in full swing, headed from the second round to the third.  The 2014-2015 is almost over, and for some time now we have been ignoring questions that face the Kings next season.

A few moves involve some major names.

First move: Don’t re-sign Jarret Stoll.

After his off-ice issuses that started almost immediately after the season ended, it’s going to be hard to re-sign Jarrett Stoll.

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  • Stoll turns 33-years-old on June 24th, and he’s just coming off a 3-year $9.75 million deal with the Kings.  Stoll has played the last seven seasons with L.A. winning his first two Stanley Cup rings along with the Kings franchise in 2012 and 2014.

    Since joining the team in 2008-2009 Stoll has seen a steady decrease in goal and point production.

    It’s not just the production numbers and off-ice issues that loom over Stoll’s future with the Kings.  L.A. has to re-sign Tyler Toffoli this off-season, and Anze Kopitar is due for a contract renewal at the end of next season so every cap-space dollar counts.

    Looking from a team building perspective, the Kings core is getting older now.  Kopitar, Dustin Brown, Marian Gaborik, and even Drew Doughty are all championship winning veterans.  The team needs to get a little younger.  They can do that by saying good-bye to a faithful centermen that brought the Kings some of their powerhouse depth.

    Phasing in the next generation will benefit those players and the Kings in the future.

    Second move: Don’t re-sign Justin Williams

    It’s going to be brutal saying good-bye to Mr. Game 7.

    At the end of last season Williams won his third Stanley Cup, second with the Kings, and added the first Conn Smythe Trophy to his hardware shelf.  In 26 games Williams scored 9 goals, and 25 points – almost a point per game player.

    This past season Williams tallied 18 goals, 23 assists, 41 points, +8 plus/minus, 4 power-play goals, and 2 game-winning goals.

    Los Angeles Kings
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    Los Angeles Kings

    With the end of this season Williams finished a 4-year $14.6 million dollar contract.  That equates to a $3.65 million cap-hit per season, which isn’t bad for a player of Williams ability, caliber, and experience.

    The down-sides?

    Williams will turn 34-years-old when the 2015-2016 NHL season starts.  As far as ages go, that’s not that old for the NHL anymore.  Hockey legend Jaromir Jagr is going to returned to the Florida Panthers next season and he’s 43-years-young.

    However Williams production and role has slowed this past season.  Williams has started to embody the stigma of the L.A. Kings that has become popular around the league: they don’t start playing real hockey until the late regular season and the playoffs.

    Williams 18 goals from this past season came in bunches.  The Kings used Williams on the 2nd power-play unit, and he flipped around between the first and third lines throughout the season.

    Williams helped propel the Kings into one of the most dominant teams in the West, and no one will ever forget that.  But looking to L.A.’s new future it’s become a game a space: cap-space, and roster space.

    The Kings may find it easier, and more beneficial to put a substantial amount of cap-space toward Toffoli’s contract, and look for another prospect or possibly a free agent forward that call try to fill Williams shoes . . . or skates.

    The fact that the Kings and Williams have not yet come to contract agreements suggest that it’s more and more of a reality that Mr. Game 7 will not return in the Black and Silver.

    Jun 3, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Kings coach Darryl Sutter (left) and general manager Dean Lombardi during media day before game one of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final against the New York Rangers at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports