Two players too many, $751,000 over the cap, and a big red dog dangling in the breeze

With Trevor Lewis and Jordan Nolan both signed, Kyle Clifford is the lone remaining unsigned RFA. Including Clifford, the Kings have 25 NHL players — 14 forwards, 9 defensemen, 2 goalies — and are $751,000 over the cap. Lombardi has until the day before the regular season starts to shave that amount (as teams are allowed a 10% summer overage), which will actually be a little more once Clifford signs (assuming he signs before he is traded) — and trim down to the regular season roster maximum of 23.

Here are the 25 names:

NHL

Left Wing
Center
Right Wing
Left Defense
Right Defense
Goaltender
Marian GaborikAnze KopitarJeff CarterJake MuzzinDrew DoughtyJonathan Quick
Dwight KingMike RichardsDustin BrownRobyn RegehrSlava VoynovMartin Jones
Kyle CliffordJarret StollJustin Williams
Willie Mitchell
Matt Greene
Tanner PearsonTrevor LewisTyler Toffoli
Alec Martinez
Jordan Nolan

Undoubtedly, everyone is going to be crunching numbers now to see if Clifford is affordable at whatever imagined price. The bottom line for me is this: the Kings have to ditch two players to get to 23 (the roster limit), and those two salaries will add up to somewhere between $1-1.5 million minimum, and might be enough to sign Clifford, if that’s what Lombardi wants to do. (Clifford’s qualifying offer — $870K, I believe, but don’t quote me — is already figured into my cap calculation when I say the Kings are $751K over the cap — so you can add that to the $1-1.5 million saved by dropping the two other players…).

Much depends on the health of Willie Mitchell. Because if he’s going to start the season on LTIR, that temporarily frees up his cap hit (as long as he remains injured). But if he’s healthy, the budget is tight.

As I think I said a couple of weeks ago, the fates of Mitchell, Schultz and Ellerby are intertwined. Healthy Mitchell means one of the other two gets waived or dealt. As for Martinez and Muzzin, I think they both stay, at least until it’s clear that Muzzin won’t be taking a step back, or that Martinez’s sophomore slump is or isn’t representative of his real NHL self.

The fates of Clifford, Nolan and Daniel Carcillo appear to be similarly linked. Tyler Toffoli could start the season in Manchester, but that strikes me as weird and unlikely, given his recent trajectory.

Under normal circumstances, 14 forwards, 7 defensemen and 2 goalies would be expected. With Mitchell still a question, I think 13/8/2 is more likely. If I had to guess, I would say that Lombardi will go into training camp with the nine defensemen, and see (1) how Mitchell is, and (2) which of Schultz and Ellerby is the better option to help out if Mitchell can’t go.

And if the Kings end up going into opening night with eight defensemen instead of seven, I hope the forward Lombardi moves, to make room for that, is Carcillo.

But that’s a hope, not a prediction. I don’t have a prediction. Because I don’t know what Clifford is asking for. If it’s more than, say, $1.5 million, I would expect Lombardi to Patrick O’Sullivan him and stick Carcillo in his place.

[When this post originally appeared, I had the Kings' overage at $63K; the figure has been corrected to $751K. See comments.]
 
  • Samuel Aronoff

    Is Marty more valuable as a 7th defensemen or a trade asset?

  • shiny

    I think Lombardi is going to keep Carcillo as much as it pains us all to think of him on our team.

    I hope Marty has a breakout year and manages to make his way on to the Olympic team (Poile said that just because someone didn’t get a camp invite doesn’t mean he can’t or won’t make the team).

    I still think signing Schultz was a knee jerk reaction but I trust Lombardi has a plan

  • Token

    I wouldn’t mind dumping Fraser and keeping Carcillo. Carcillo has a lot of speed, something we needed last year in the post-season. Nolan a center anyway, so that takes care of that.

    • shiny

      He mostly plays RW, though. Don’t know if I’d want to experiment with Nolan at center. We could technically split up Jeff and Mike and bump Stoll to C4

    • Bob Knob

      Nolan at center? Is this a joke? He’s out of his depth at 4RW, center is not a responsibility he can handle.

      If Fraser goes, Lewis is the obvious choice for 4C imo, or push Richards to 3C and Stoll to 4C.

      • ToughD

        I’ll go you one better….

        Instead of having Richards $5.75 MIL as a 3C and Stolls $3.25 MIL as a 4C, how bout waiving Richards, replacing him with Lewis, and voila…I believe we just improved our team and all our cap troubles go away…If Lewis fails we will still have cap space for a good/great center.

        • Bob Knob

          I don’t think we’d have to waive Richards, I think we could trade him to Calgary or some such team. I don’t think it’s a bad idea either. I think he’s already declining, he’s a bit small, we have Carter, etc. Kopi/Carter/Stoll/Lewis down the middle ain’t bad imo. Then we have room for Toffoli on RW2.

        • Jeremy Bruce

          Waive Richards? WTF? How about we waive Quick, Kopi and Brown, that will definitely clear space to keep Carcillo and Schultz. Then maybe we could buy Kovalchuk back from the Russkies. Waive Richards, ha, get out of here!

          • ToughD

            Don’t know if you’ve been watching games but if you have then you’d realize Richards has not been good. I take it you’d relish having a lousy Richards center the 3rd line while costing us a 5.75 MIL cap hit? Yup, big-time WTF!

            • http://www.mcsorleys-stick.com/ Quisp

              Kind of depends on how Richards ages, what kind of player we can expect him to be in his 30s, and what $5-6MM buys you in four or five years.

              • Bob Knob

                Pretty much this.

                I’m putting my money on him not aging well, because he’s small, isn’t really physically as gifted as many other top centers, concussions, he fishes too much, and I think he’s already declined a bit.

            • JZarris

              I’m starting to wonder if you’ve been watching as many games as you claim, or if you’ve actually been “missing large portions” of them.

              • ToughD

                Still better than missing entire games, looking at the stat sheet afterwards and making up what happened on the ice…

        • For Reals?

  • Doughty’s Worth It

    how are the kings over $63,000, theyre actually $257,000 under the cap

    • http://www.mcsorleys-stick.com/ Quisp

      Because Clifford’s qualifying offer counts, although capgeek doesn’t count it. There does appear to be another discrepancy between their numbers and mine, which I am about to look into.

      • http://www.mcsorleys-stick.com/ Quisp

        I checked my numbers against capgeek and discovered some discrepancies. (1) they had different numbers for the salary retained by Toronto than were originally reported (and were originally on their site, BTW); (2) I somehow didn’t add in Jeff Schultz’s $700K cap hit; (3) cap geek doesn’t add in bonuses when figuring the cap space, but I do; (4) as I mentioned, I include Clifford’s qualifying offer, since it technically does count.

        All tallied up, the Kings aren’t $63,000 over the cap, as I said they were. They’re $751,000 over.

  • USHA#17

    Left wing problems….again?