Lombardi talks more positively about Willie Mitchell’s future


In a bit of a change from several recent answers, Kings GM Dean Lombardi was speaking more positively when asked about the future of Willie Mitchell during today’s conference call. Take a look…

“That’s added to the dilemma, right?” Lombardi said, referring to Mitchell’s $3.5 million contract that would be ‘freed up cap space’ should he go on long-term injured reserve. “On the one hand, this is the first time in the last couple weeks where everything has been positive on Willie, in terms of his progress. But, it kind of circles around out there because…the hard part is it’s hard enough making decisions when you have all the facts. In this case, and in so many of these cases, we’re making decisions based upon assumptions we MIGHT think will be facts two months from now. This job is hard enough when you have all the facts and lord knows you guys remind us when we mess up. Now we have to make some of these decisions on assumptions that might or might not be the case. And that’s just the way it is with Willie. We all know how good a player this guy is, how instrumental he is, his fit with his partner (Slava) Voynov. And now all the indications are positive in terms of his health. Now, that could change tomorrow. I can’t give you a definitive answer, it’s a moving target. But, every time we do something now we have to put that off to the side and say ‘OK, if we give this player this, and bring this player here, and if Willie comes back this is what happens, if he doesn’t come back this happens. Again, all I can say is it’s definitely a consideration every time we make a decision here right now and it’s not easy.”

Of course, Mitchell’s availability to play will likely have a huge impact on the team’s ability to sign Rob Scuderi – something Lombardi also spoke about on the call (see comments linked below).

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Comments

  1. Mitchell is crucial to the Kings post season, in my opinion. Hope he makes a full recovery.

  2. mythreekings says:

    I’ve been trying to track down the official (legal) rules for amnesty buyouts. Any chance the Kings could buyout Mitchell, but then re-sign him at 1M? If that’s legal, Mitchel would get paid his 3.5M for the buyout, the Kings would free up that much in cap space, and then if he’s ready to go come training camp, could then be signed for a modest cap hit (seeing how’s he already got paid for the season). Possible?

    • John Hoven says:

      Not legal, not possible. Check capgeek.com for more info on buyout rules.

      In a nutshell, the Kings have three options with Mitchell – play him, trade him or put him on long-term IR. If he’s hurt, they can NOT buy him out. If he’s healthy, sure they could buy him out – but not to re-sign him at a lower rate.

      They love Mitchell too. So, bottom line – if he’s healthy, he’s playing for the LA Kings.

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  4. [...] The two biggest questions at the moment surround forward Dustin Penner and defenseman Rob Scuderi – situations that also tie back to Willie Mitchell’s health and future. [...]

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  7. [...] front, Mitchell’s status has more recently been referred to as encouraging – see here for Lombardi’s comments from just a few weeks [...]

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