Updated overview of the Kings salary cap situation

Here we go again. Salary Cap 101, week three is now in session.

As mentioned previously, you’re encouraged to take copious notes. Pop quizzes are likely early next week.

A few major changes have taken place since our last meeting, including the departure of Rob Scuderi and addition of Jeff Schultz. In a somewhat surprising reversal, GM Dean Lombardi also signed defenseman Keaton Ellerby, just 24 hours after not qualifying him as a Restricted Free Agent.

With a salary of $700K last season, it would have cost the Kings $735K to qualify him. They chose not to. When he was offered a contract the next day, the natural assumption was they had agreed to a deal worth less than the qualifying offer. Not so fast though. Ellerby was resigned to a one-year deal worth $735K. That’s awfully curious, but a story for another day. Let’s stay on point.

Applying the recently completed contracts for Ellerby and Schultz, the Kings now have a total of 19 players under contract, totaling $59,231,894. That leaves $5.2M in cap space and four open roster spots (a maximum of 23).

One quick reminder as well, the status of Willie Mitchell remains TBD for next season. However, he’s under contract, so we have to include him in all data below. Also, to answer the 5,000 questions we get about this everyday – LA cannot buyout Mitchell’s contract because he’s hurt. The three options are either play him, trade him or place him on long-term injured reserve (LTIR). Essentially, you can’t buyout players on LTIR and if he’s healthy enough to play, he’s playing for the Kings.

So, a rough line-up card, using only guys under contract, would give you something like this (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]
Matt Frattin – Colin Fraser – [open, RW4]

Robyn Regehr – Drew Doughty
Willie Mitchell – Slava Voynov
Jeff Schultz – Matt Greene

Jonathan Quick
Ben Scrivens

Three healthy scratches:
– Keaton Ellerby
– two other slots open, not signed at the moment

Lombardi currently has five Restricted Free Agents (RFA) from the 2013 roster he needs to get signed:

Forwards – Kyle Clifford, Trevor Lewis and Jordan Nolan
Defensemen – Alec Martinez and Jake Muzzin

Add those five to the 19 players under contract and you’d have a 24-man roster. Plus, as we reported this afternoon, the Kings are still in the mix for Dustin Penner’s services. He’s an Unrestricted Free Agent and can sign with any team he chooses at this point. But, that would put them at 25 if he agreed to return to LA.

Thus, with or without Penner, the Kings will likely need to make a trade or cut somebody to get down to the roster limit of 23. And remember, you can’t send any of these players down to Manchester without first exposing them to waivers (giving the 29 other NHL teams a chance to grab them).

To finish off the salary cap discussion though, let’s start with a new contract for Kyle Clifford. Although he had a cap hit of $870K last season, it would only take $714K to qualify him because of how his salary and bonuses were structured. It’s probably safe to assume he’s not taking a pay cut, so we’ll add him for a conservative $900K, just to use a round number.

Trevor Lewis can be qualified for $735K, a slight increase from his $725K last season. He likely deserves more, but the Kings are up against the cap this summer, so we’re staying low.

Jake Muzzin can be qualified for $635K, also an increase from last season. Same comment applies here if you’re interested in debating that he deserves more.

Signing those three players would give the Kings a 22-man roster looking like this:

Dustin Brown – Anze Kopitar – Justin Williams
Mike Richards – Jeff Carter – Tyler Toffoli
Dwight King – Jarret Stoll – Trevor Lewis
Kyle Clifford – Colin Fraser – Matt Frattin

Robyn Regehr – Drew Doughty
Willie Mitchell – Slava Voynov
Jeff Schultz – Matt Greene

Jonathan Quick
Ben Scrivens

Three healthy scratches:
– Keaton Ellerby
– Jake Muzzin
– one slots still open, not signed at the moment

So what’s left?

One roster spot and they still wouldn’t have signed Martinez, Nolan and/or Penner.

You can argue the merits of any of those three players, but Nolan almost has to come back, if for no other reason that he has such an inexpensive contract. He can be qualified for just $578K, a real important aspect when you’re trying to save money here with the cap coming down.

Even wthout Nolan though – and just making the assumptions noted above for Clifford, Lewis and Muzzin – Lombardi would have committed $61.5M on 22 players. Said differently, he’d have roughly $2.9M to round out the roster with one more player.

To get a deal done with two of Nolan, Penner and Martinez would require a trade.

There are also a few other points worth making. People ask about bringing some kids (prospects) up from Manchester to ‘save’ money. Well, at forward, the two most likely candidates are center Linden Vey and left wing Tanner Pearson. Vey’s cap hit next season is $900K. That’s not going to save you much from anybody already slotted in the bottom-six. In fact, it would cost you more if he replaced a guy like Nolan on the roster. Pearson’s cap hit is $925K, so ditto.

For what it’s worth, we do expect Vey to be on the Kings roster next season. However, let’s table that whole discussion for now and just get through the current cap mess first.

There’s one other conundrum in all of this – the health of Mitchell.

Teams are allowed to go over the cap during the summer. So, Lombardi could conceivably re-sign all of his RFAs (putting him over the roster limit) and then wait until late August to get a better read on Mitchell’s health. If he wasn’t available to play, they could put him on LTIR at that point and gain one roster spot, not to mention the $3.5M in cap relief. If he was available – which would be great news for the team on the ice – they’d need to then trade a player to bring them under the cap.

Penner’s impending decision is most likely the next domino in the chain to fall.  Will he land in LA or with another team?


Lombardi talks more positively about Willie Mitchell’s future

Lombardi explains how and why Bernier was dealt to Toronto

Lombardi’s views on what Matt Frattin brings to the LA Kings

Darryl Sutter’s end of season comments on the Kings, and a look to next year

End of season comments from Rob Scuderi – now what?

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  1. Dwight King sucks and should not be playing on the third line. I hope he gets packaged in a deal, Frattin can play the left side and I would much rather have him on the third line than King. King needs to go back to the AHL or get traded, period. Now that Iginla is gone I think the only option to upgrade is through the trade market, but who would DL target and what would he be willing to give up? Because, I’m sorry, but this team will not win a cup as currently constructed. Too many teams have upgraded their rosters and we have to, at the minimum, upgrade our 2nd line LW, if not more.

    • DK maybe sucks but this is his last contract year.So,he has to perform well to move up or get resign that’s what DL wants-to develop this big young kid into great assist (for the team),make every one big so we can used it or trade it in the future.this is business rule-his big,make it big. So,We’ll see the surplus of performance from him,make sure DL is right on.Only because this year’s cap move are trying (NHL) to make small teams stronger !? Or not,we’ll see!! Kings will be fine.All other teams are suffered too,So…GKG…

    • BobKnob2point0 says

      He doesn’t suck but I think he belongs on the 4th line really. He’s better than most 4th liners.

    • We need more consistent scoring from A LOT of our players, no doubt about that, so it’s time to send Penner packing imo. We need to see better play from our defense to help out Quick as well, while also giving him more goals per game! King played quite well two seasons ago as did Nolan but they both looked horrible last season, so unless we can see them both return to their productive selves in the coming season, I could handle seeing both of them replaced by another young gun from our system or through a trade for someone who is already a proven scoring threat!! Clifford hasn’t done all that much either imo, so I could also see moving him if need be, if it meant we get a scorer to replace him, who WILL produce points way more consistently! I want to see goals being scored by ALL four lines and NOT just the top two!! Give Quick 4 goals a night and you are going to see the Kings win WAY more games imo!

  2. I don’t really like penner (he seems lime a cool cat as a person). He only shows up during playoffs and we r thin on LW. Plus with the carosel of young inexperienced defenseman and losing scuds I think we might be screwed on the blueline (give up more goals, looks like our def signing r trying to polish turds). If we make playoffs next year it will be around the eighth seed.

    • BobKnob2point0 says

      Penner’s problem wasn’t that he didn’t show up, it’s that he had an incredibly poor (and unsustainable) shooting percentage this year on shots and scoring chances.

      He shot 3.3% this year, and including this year his career shooting percentage is 12%. He had great possession stats this year, better than both of his linemates. On the ice, he was good at winning puck battles in the corner and it was nearly impossible to separate him from the puck. He generated good chances for his linemates but was unable to put the puck in the net this year.

      Expect a more normal shooting percentage next year. Penner can probably be signed at a discount due to his low point totals last year. I think he’s an exceptionally good value, and hopefully DL can get him re-signed.

  3. Now that Scuds has moved on, Toffoli would look good in #7, eh? What’s your gut say on Penner? I feel like we’ll end up moving Fraser (maybe to slide Vey in) even though CF makes a little less.

    • John Hoven says

      Not sure why Toffoli would wear #7.

      Probably better than 50% chance Penner returns.

  4. bob knob says

    Any interest in grabovski or Damien Brunner?

  5. Regulate says

    What you are missing here is that Muzzin, Martinez, and Nolan are also arbitration eligible. Not sure if any of them filed for arbitration, but you need to keep that in mind. They could potentially be awarded more money, and Dean needs to factor that into his decision making. Anyone know what the deadline is for filing for arbitration?

    • Deadline for players is Thursday the 11th. For clubs it’s Friday the 12th

    • BobKnob2point0 says

      I can’t imagine Nolan doing anything but taking what he’s offered. He’s lucky he’s in the league to begin with (he shouldn’t be).

      • John Hoven says

        Trevor Lewis, Alec Martinez, Jake Muzzin + Jordan Nolan have filed for salary arbitration. Cases will be heard at a date TBD this summer

  6. chitchatt says

    Thank You John…. You make things so simple for us that don’t get numbers and caps and contracts!!!
    Now I get it and we wait and see.

    thanks again!!!

  7. IMO, A-Mart is gone.

  8. Player Elected Salary Arbitration filing deadline 17:00 July 5th.

    We would have heard something by now if any King RFA filed.

    • Actually that ends today, tomorrow for the teams too.
      WIth the lockout there was an additional ammendment.

  9. Hope we can somehow manage to re-sign Penner. Dude always brings it in the playoffs.

  10. GeneralH says

    We gotta bring back Penner. He’s a slick passer and a wide body. Plus he’s a funny dude off the ice. Get rid of Martinez. He sucks anyhow. And it’s time to clear room for Vey. He has to get in there and learn sometime, it may as well be now.

    • How does getting rid of a defenseman and resigning a left winger clear room for a right winger?

      • BobKnob2point0 says

        Vey’s a center.

        • I was basing that on our depth down the middle and from what I hear his less than stellar work on faceoffs. Regardless, my point is that:

          How does getting rid of a defenseman and resigning a left winger clear room for a forward?

  11. I would still rather see Frattin on the 3rd and move King to the 4th with Fras an Nolan.
    Agiain though, lines dont matter so much with DS.

  12. No way Vey makes the roster. Kings have 6-7 natural centers in Kopitar, Richards, Stoll, Carter, Lewis, and Fraser.

    I see it playing out like this…

    Dustin Brown – Anze Kopitar – Justin Williams
    Mike Richards – Jeff Carter – Matt Frattin
    Dwight King – Jarret Stoll – Tyler Toffoli
    Kyle Clifford – Colin Fraser – Trevor Lewis
    Extra: Jordan Nolan

    • John Hoven says

      Since we’re throwing out ‘no way’ today… NO WAY Frattin starts on the second line ahead of Toffoli.

      • Jon, Toffoli is a natural LW. Why move him to the off wing? Plus, he is a similar type of player as Carter. You want a smallish Richards surrounded by two pure scorers?

        Sutter was rotating Penner, Clifford and King all year and in the playoffs because they like have some size with Carter-Richards.

        I have to believe Toffoli plays on the 3rd line in his natural RW position.

        • John Hoven says


          Actually he’s a natural center. See the interview above we did with his junior coach several years ago, where he talk about him likely being a better RW in the NHL.

          As for the lines, as noted in the article, those were place holders for cap discussions only. If we were putting lines together today, I’d put him on Kopitar’s wing. Would rather separate 77 and 73.

          • Agreed. Hard to put 77 and 73 together…too similar.

            I have a feeling Frattin, King, and Clifford will be in the running to play with Richards-Carter next year unless the Kings add someone. I was hoping for Brendan Morrow.


  1. […] 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. […]

  2. […] For the most up to date look at the Kings salary cap situation and how Lombardi might ultimately piece it all together – and why a trade is still very likely – click here. […]