If you were hoping for the Kings to land one of the ‘big name’ free agents this year, well… you just haven’t been paying close enough attention.
GM Dean Lombardi entered the off season still needing to get contracts done for many Restricted Free Agents – including Kyle Clifford, Trevor Lewis, Alec Martinez, Jake Muzzin and Jordan Nolan.
At the end of the day, with the salary cap coming down, it was also going to be hard to retain his three Unrestricted Free Agents – Dustin Penner, Brad Richardson and Rob Scuderi.
Two of the three have already bolted.
As reported earlier, Scuderi signed a four-year deal to return to the Penguins. Then, later this afternoon, Richardson agreed to a two-year deal with Vancouver, worth $1.15 million per season.
For Richardson, it should be an opportunity to earn a full-time gig in the NHL. Over the past few seasons he proved to be a valuable member of Darryl Sutter’s roster, a versatile forward who could play all three forward positions up and down the roster with various linemates. He was also one of the few players to provide the Kings with some speed.
The stat with Richardson that’s always stood out the most is when he was with the Owen Sound Attack (OHL) in 2004-05 he actually posted more goals and assists than a young Bobby Ryan. Not that he’ll be that type of player with the Canucks, but it’s still a pretty amazing tidbit.
The 28-year old Belleville native was universally liked by his teammates in LA and will be missed. Perhaps his last contribution to the team was providing Nolan with his new nickname ‘Gordo.’
It hasn’t all been subtraction today, Lombardi has made one addition to his roster as well.
Former first round draft pick Jeff Schultz (27th overall, 2004) agreed to a one-year deal in LA worth $700,000.
A left-handed shot, Schultz has played n 399 career NHL games (all with the Washington Capitals). Last season he saw action in 26 games and picked up three assists. Standing 6-foot-6, 230-pounds, he’s posted 75 points in his career (11G, 64A), 133 penalty minutes and a plus-78 rating.
And, get this, in 2009-10 he played 73 games and was a plus-50. No, that’s not a typo.
There were rumors of Lombardi trying to acquire him at the trade deadline this past season, before ultimately bringing Robyn Regehr to the Kings.
Finally, what’s the latest on Dustin Penner?
Within the hour, a source close to the situation told MayorsManor the Kings were ‘still in the mix’ – so, we’ll have to see what happens next.
Recently, Penner opened up in an exclusive interview here - where he talked about the possibility of returning to LA with a pay cut and/or on a short term deal.
After adding Schultz – and factoring in the money needed for the players the Kings made qualifying offers to - they have roughly $2M in cap space to work with, according to this article here.
However, if Lombardi was to sign all of his available RFAs, LA would have 24 roster players, one over the limit of 23. Meaning, a trade will be needed at some point even without Penner.