Voynov signs six-year deal, now comes the hard part

Slava Voynov LA Kings MayorsManor
One piece of Dean Lombardi’s summer chemistry project is now complete. With defenseman Slava Voynov agreeing to a six-year, $25 million deal, the Kings’ GM can now move on to other pieces of the puzzle.

First though, a few notes on Voynov.

Originally selected by LA in the second round of the 2008 NHL Draft, Voynov has been playing pro hockey in North America now for four seasons. However, much like his coach, Darryl Sutter, he’s yet to spend a full 82-game season with the Kings.

After two years in Manchester (AHL), he came to camp in September 2011 looking to earn an NHL job. Then-coach Terry Murray constantly praised him and he was one of the last roster cuts that fall, as there just wasn’t a place for him yet on a deep LA blueline. When he was initially sent back to the AHL, Voynov was told by Murray and Lombardi he ‘was an NHL player’ and his time was coming soon.

Sure enough, the Kings did find room for him though a series of call-ups and – as has been well documented – he was finally  given a full-time gig following the trade of Jack Johnson to Columbus.

Over his rookie season of 2011-12 Voynov collected 20 points (eight goals, 12 assists) in 54 regular season games. He backed that up by playing in all 20 games of the post-season, en route to the team’s first Stanley Cup in franchise history.

According to Lombardi, Voynov’s agent had requested the team allow him to return to Russia during the NHL lockout (to play in the KHL) – something that was not approved. Instead, the 23-year old once again suited up for the Kings’ AHL affiliate in Manchester, where he posted 16 points (seven goals, nine assists) in 35 games.

When the NHL resumed play in January, Voynov was arguably the Kings top offensive weapon among the defensive core.

Now, for the next six years he looks to be penciled in on the team’s second D-pairing, behind Drew Doughty and his partner. He’ll also see plenty of time on the power play.

The big question is, who will Voynov be partnered with?

Lombardi has a number of other contracts to be worked out, including decisions on Restricted Free Agents like Keaton Ellerby, Jake Muzzin and Alec Martinez.

Applying Voynov’s $4.16M cap hit to the Kings’ payroll, they have already committed $56.76M of the allowed $64.3M salary cap for next season. Meaning, Lombardi only has $7.54M left to spend at the moment… and needs to sign/slot eight more players to field a 23-man roster.

Here’s a rough line-up card using only guys under contract (ignore any debate about line combinations for the moment):

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

Jonathan Quick
[open G2]

Three healthy scratches (none signed at the moment)

Will there be enough money left over to re-sign Scuderi?  Is Mitchell coming back?

If the answer to either question is no, where does Lombardi turn?

A full analysis and explanation of the Kings salary cap situation and options can be found here.  It’s a must read for any Kings fan.

RELATED CONTENT:

Voynov on his biggest influence and if he wants to play forward

Voynov interview during Cup run – with cameos from his teammates

The Russian Report with Slava Voynov

Lombardi’s latest update on Willie Mitchell - June 2013

Lombardi on who goes first – Voynov or Scuderi

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Comments

  1. So then what are the odds that DL uses one of the compliance buyouts on Mitchell rather than waiting until the start of the season to see if he is healthy? DL has said in the past that the Kings are effectively punished by the cap by not having any ‘bad’ contracts (a la Bryzgalov), so using one of the two buyouts in this instance gives clarity on the cap moving forward. Add Mitchell’s cap hit back into the available pool, and there might be enough flexibility to get a deal for Scuderi done (or add someone else on a 1-year or 2-year deal). (Yes, I know, Brown’s extension and the following year cap…)

    • John Hoven says:

      Willie Mitchell cannot be bought out as long as he’s injured. So, the only options are play him, trade him or put him on Long Term Injured Reserve.

      At this point, to re-sign Scuderi, Lombardi would most likely need to trade a currently signed roster player (to free up the money).

  2. Mitchell will not be ready to play, I just don’t see his knee being able to take the punishment. LTIR will give the cap relief needed. Dean will make it happen with scuderi (signing or trade). Still torn on Penner, 82 games of non-production vs. playoff production (max 28 games), the scale just doesn’t tip in his favor unless he signs for two million- don’t see that happening. Really would like holloway to get signed in a descent bridge deal, the bottom six will sign for their cheap qualifying amounts and so will Muzzin. Trade A-mart and Bernier. Mitchell’s 3.5 LTIR relief puts it back up to 11mil to fill the 8 slots it’ll be tight, but doable but what do I know…

  3. Doughty99 says:

    Assuming Deano re-signs the RFA’s, LW is a bigger need on this roster than D.

    Doughty-Muzzin yielded very promising results earlier this year. Given that cuts need to be made somewhere, that seems as safe a gamble as any.

    I’m willing to connect Martinez’s ups and downs to getting Crosby’d while playing over in Sweden. He was phenomenal in 11-12 and I’d love to see him back healthy with Greener next year.

    Q: Scuderi -> NYI is a hot rumor right now, but so is Bernier -> NYI. If Bernier gets done 1st, does that have an affect on whether NYI can sign Bobby Scudz?

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