Revisiting the 2013-14 question

We looked at the possibilities for next season a few weeks ago, before Hickey and Westgarth moved on, and before the cap for 2013-2014 was announced to be $64.3MM.

  • This summer’s UFAs: Penner, Gagne, Scuderi, Drewiske, Richardson.
  • Assuming that Penner and Gagne both leave and Scuderi is re-signed, there will still be the need to lose one $3-4MM contract in order to be cap-compliant.
  • Fraser, Greene, Mitchell and Brown are UFAs the following summer, 2014.
  • Lastly, Tyler Toffoli will make this team next year. I think Lombardi thinks this. The kid is within a couple goals of leading the league (AHL) as a rookie. He’s not going to spend another year in the minors.
  • Maybe Carter flips to the left side, and we see Carter – Richards – Toffoli. If that’s the case, Stoll can stay…and Greene is the one who gets dealt.
  • Alternatively, King moves up to the second line — King – Richards – Carter (we saw this for awhile last year) — and Toffoli plays on the third line.
  • It makes no sense to have a third line with Toffoli on it with Jarret Stoll as the center. Toffoli needs a playmaking center.
  • If you ask me, the candidates are Linden Vey (currently Toffoli’s center in Manchester) or Andrei Loktionov, in my opinion the best playmaker in the system (assuming he hasn’t been traded by then).
  • I personally would rather see King/Pearson – Vey/Loktionov – Toffoli as a third line, with Clifford – Fraser/Lewis – Nolan on the fourth, as opposed to any combination which involves a bottom six line centered by Jarret Stoll.
  • Especially since keeping Stoll means getting rid of one of Mitchell or Greene, or whoever might have replaced Mitchell or Greene at more or less the same salary.
  • Since the Kings can’t really afford to have two kids as the third pair d, to me this means Jarret Stoll must go.
  • Yeah, you could get rid of Jeff Carter or Mike Richards instead of Jarret Stoll, but on a team that lacks scoring, that just seems crazy. It has been noted that Stoll is a Lombardi kind of player. But Brown, Williams, Kopitar, Richards, Carter, King, Nolan, Clifford (Pearson, Andreoff) are also Lombardi kinds of players. Someone’s got to go, and I think it’s pretty obvious it’s the over-priced guy who doesn’t score.


  4 comments for “Revisiting the 2013-14 question

  1. Samuel Aronoff
    January 22, 2013 at 10:57 AM

    The only way Stoll stays is if Muzzin makes a case to replace Greener. Greene, Scuderi, and Mitchell are going to need to be replaced at some point. Greene means a lot in the room I would gather, hence the “A” but you have to field the best team. Same goes for Scuds. I could actually see Scuds leaving if Muzzin can play well.

  2. Robert Bare
    January 22, 2013 at 12:23 PM

    I think the numbers you used in your previous post are inflated, and the Kings probably won’t necessarily have to dump a $3m player to get under the cap for next season. To wit:

    This year’s team is currently $1.4m under next year’s $64.3m cap, with the potential of gaining another $6.7 by not re-signing Penner and Gagne. That’s over $8m in room to sign, re-sign, and recall players. Of course, $4m of that is immediately eaten up by Quick’s new contract coming into effect next season, but regardless, Lombardi has shown himself to be quite frugal in negotiating contracts, and assuming that trend continues the Kings can get under the cap without having to deal Stoll. Regarding their current RFA’s and UFA’s, I would assume that the following deals take place:

    1. Scuderi – $3.5m. I don’t see Scuderi taking a paycut after being so instrumental to the team for the last two years. I think he signs for his current salary, or a small bump to the $3.5m that Mitchell makes.

    2. Lewis – $1.5m. Signing Lewis for the $2m that you suggest would almost triple his salary. That isn’t going to happen for a bottom-six player who is an RFA instead of a UFA. Even this salary might be a little generous. He could end up signing for a Brad Richardson-like $1.2m.

    3. Jones/Backup Goalie – $800k. Because of the cap crunch, there is simply no way the Kings are going to have a $1.8m backup goalie on their roster next season (assuming Quick remains healthy and productive). Bernier will be traded and whether it’s Jones or someone else, whoever replaces him will make no more than the $1.2m Bernier makes, and if it’s Jones, it will likely be less than $1m, probably $800k or so, which is still a nice bump from the $500k he makes this year.

    4. Martinez – $1.5m. That would double his salary, and seems in line with his place as a third-pairing defenseman who doesn’t have a lot of leverage as an RFA.

    5. Nolan – $1m. There is no way that Nolan goes from $500k to the $1.5m that you suggest, especially if he spends part of this season in Manchester, which seems likely. He probably gets Fraser money in the $800k range, but I could see him getting all the way to $1m if he stays with the big team and has a good year.

    6. Muzzin – $800k. Muzzin doesn’t go from $500k to $1m as a 7th defenseman. Even if he plays a lot and plays well with Greene out (neither of which is a given), he’ll get money similar to what Martinez got on his second contract, which is roughly $800k.

    7. Loktionov – $1.2m. This salary might be slightly inflated based on his production, but I like him as much as you do, and if he sticks with the team it will be as a 3rd line Center, so this is probably about right.

    8. Voynov – $2m. There is no way that he’s going from $800K to the $2.5m that you suggest on a second contract. Not when he’ll have less than 100 regular season games under his belt even at the end of this year, and he’s an RFA.

    9. Clifford – $1.1m. He gets a pay bump to Brad Richardson money.

    So, assuming that my numbers are correct, where are we at? Well, with the bonus cushion, this gets us just under the cap by around $250K. Without the bonus cushion, we’d have to cut another $100K somewhere.

    What conclusions can we draw from all this regarding players not mentioned above? Several.

    1. Based on economics, Gagne is almost certain to be let go after this season. He hasn’t lived up to the contract, and unless he turns into a 20 goal scorer over the next 47 games, his salary doesn’t justify him taking a spot that seems destined for Toffoli right now.

    2. Penner and Stoll are both expendable, and at least one of them must go, but not necessarily both, as you suggest.

    3. Loktionov could become expendable depending on what happens with Penner and Stoll. Here are Lombardi’s options:

    A. Trade Stoll, keep Loktionov, maybe re-sign Penner: This makes the most sense to me because the team can get assets for Stoll. They can then dump his salary, gain a pick and/or a prospect in the process, slide Loktionov into the 3rd line Center spot, and re-sign Fraser or move Lewis down to 4th line Center. The Kings would be comfortably under the cap, could even re-sign Penner if they wanted to, and with or without him they would be putting a much more dynamic team on the ice than what they have now.

    B. Let Penner walk, keep Stoll, keep Loktionov: This is technically possible based on the contracts that I’ve outlined above. Still, the team would be losing an asset (Penner) for nothing, and have very little wriggle room under the cap when all was said and done.

    C. Let Penner walk, keep Stoll, trade Loktionov: This seems the most likely scenario, even though it’s at odds with your post. I know you’d rather keep Loktionov than Stoll, and so would I, but if Dean re-signs the RFA’s to the deals that I think he’s going to re-sign them to, then he’ll have enough room to keep Stoll, but not enough room to keep Stoll and Loktionov and still have room to make additional moves. So I think he trades Loktionov to get comfortably under the cap, then moves either Lewis or a re-signed Fraser to the 4th line.

    So my whole point in this exercise was to show that the team doesn’t have to trade Stoll if the RFA’s are signed to reasonable deals. Assuming that happens, and no trades are made, then Dean will have to pick one of the 3 options outlines above. I wish he would pick A, since I think it makes the Kings a better and more dynamic team while also bringing in assets instead of just letting them walk via free agency. However, I think Lombardi goes with C, and we watch Loktionov blossom in another city while lamenting Stoll for shooting high and wide for yet another season.

    I guess my end all point would be to say that I think it would take a miracle for both Stoll and Loktionov to be on the team 10 months from now. The reality of the situation will probably force Lombardi to trade Loktionov, which no one in the Kings Hivemind wants, and keep Stoll, which no one in the Kings Hivemind wants. I’m not looking forward to Hivemind meltdown that occurs when that inevitability occurs.

    EDIT: Clearly I don’t want to get any actual work done today.

    • January 22, 2013 at 12:51 PM

      Well, the first thing is that you may be right that my numbers for the several re-signings could be high. In the past, my similar predictions have either been high, or right, but I don’t think I’ve ever been low.

      Much depends on whether Bernier is traded or not. I believe that is still very much an open question. But, I’m willing to stipulate that Bernier is replaced by someone earning less than $1MM.

  3. Kings of Hockeywood
    January 22, 2013 at 11:31 PM

    How about buying out Stoll and Williams? Assuming Gagne and Penner are both also gone, that could open up spots for Toffoli, Pearson, and Loktionov.

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