With Monday’s deadline looming to present qualifying offers to their Restricted Free Agents (RFAs), MayorsManor has learned the Kings have decided to cut ties with forward Mikey Eyssimont.
One of the more curious puzzles to solve in the coming days. Eyssimont has proven to be an effective AHL player. In a normal year, he likely would have been given a few NHL games this past season for the purpose of further evaluation. Now, at 24 years old and with three years of pro experience under his belt, he’s somewhat trapped in the Bermuda Triangle. He’s established who he is, which includes some sandpaper and jam, yet he’s been leapfrogged on the depth chart by a number of guys in the organization. To say he’s fighting for a chance in LA would be an understatement. Although he’s arbitration eligible, do you really want to qualify a guy and go through that process if he realizes he probably isn’t going to get a real shot at making the NHL with your team? Coach John Wroblewski really likes him and has hinted at even giving him a letter next season. If Eyssimont is serious about his NHL aspirations, he could be pushing to have the Kings not qualify him; hoping instead to bet on himself through free agency. It’s dicey either way and a compelling argument could be made for either side of the discussion.
He joins a growing list of players in the organization who will not be qualified this year, thus they’ll become Unrestricted Free Agents (UFAs).
As we reported a few weeks back, Kings GM Rob Blake is also not expected to present qualifying offers to Matt Luff or Drake Rymsha. With the addition of Eyssimont to this group — plus moving on from UFAs Mark Alt and Daniel Brickley — that brings the total to five contracts they’re trimming from their total pool.
Just before the NHL Draft began on Friday, the also Kings made a minor trade with Arizona, sending forward Boko Imama and defensive prospect Cole Hults to the Coyotes in exchange for Brayden Burke and Tyler Steenbergen. Only Burke is expected to remain with the LA organization, so the net impact will be another contract cut from the total.
Add in the Kurtis MacDermid contract that was taken over by Seattle in the Expansion Draft and the herd is definitely starting to thin from what was a very crowded group — especially at forward, something we broke down in detail here:
For those unfamiliar with the RFA process – essentially, there are two phases: regular RFAs (players without arbitration rights) and RFAs with arbitration rights (more on that in a minute).
As for the Kings remaining RFAs, qualifying offers will be extended to Lias Andersson, Kale Clague, Jacob Moverare, and Austin Strand. None of them have arbitration rights, so Blake and company still have time to work out new deals with each player in the coming weeks.
Which brings us to Andreas Athanasiou. When we checked in with our sources earlier today, it was once again confirmed to us what we’ve been reporting for quite some time — LA will not qualify him. However, there is an important update. Even though by not qualifying him Athanasiou will become a UFA, the Kings are still interested in signing him to a new contract. From what we understand, there have been discussions about both a one and two year deal.
UPDATE, 7/26 at 1:45pm — The Kings will qualify Athanasiou. Word is, they’re very close to reaching a new deal and they didn’t want to muddy the waters by letting other teams jump into the UFA conversations. As stated all along, the Kings have remained hopeful of bringing him back and it now sounds like they should be wrapping up a new deal soon.
Goaltender Troy Grosenick would be the only other player currently in contract limbo. He’ll be a UFA soon. Even so, the Kings plan on possibly looping back to him at some point. For now, both sides are expected to test the waters and see what’s out there. LA wants to add an experienced third goalie to their mix. It’s a guy who will be parked in Ontario and on-call should the Kings needs him at the NHL level. None of the Kings young goalie prospects meet the requirement, so they’ll need to fill that hole with somebody this summer.
Regarding any potential trades or additional adds via free agency that could be coming, we continue to hear ‘term’ will be the key issue. Blake is taking and making calls daily to see what’s out there, as the Kings still remain hopeful of a few more roster tweaks in the weeks ahead. For now, nothing seems to be imminent. We discussed the situation regarding several potential players recently on Kings Of The Podcast. Those shows are linked below for your reference.
Note to webmasters/reporters: When recapping news or interviews from this site please remember to include a link to www.MayorsManor.com