Math is hard, or so the saying goes.
And things aren’t getting any easier for LA Kings management this week.
While GM Rob Blake was able to swing a seismic trade on Tuesday – designed to improve the club’s performance on ice – their salary cap situation remains a major work in progress.
Following the acquisition of 6-foot-4 center Pierre-Luc Dubois from Winnipeg, Blake is projected to have less than $300k to work with. This clearly isn’t enough; considering, at a minimum, he needs to still add a goalie to the club’s roster. They aren’t planning on starting the season with Pheonix Copley and Erik Portillo. Even if they were, though, there currently isn’t enough cap space to even add Portillo.
Clearly, some work remains for Blake and his LA management team. Despite shedding the contracts of Cal Petersen, Alex Iafallo, and Sean Durzi this month, there’s still more to be done.
From a purely mathematical perspective, Blake Lizotte would be the most obvious candidate in consideration at this point when looking for places to find some additional cap space. While his spot in the lineup at 4C could be taken by Jaret Anderson-Dolan, it’s difficult for any player to replace the energy and tenacity Lizotte brings to every shift.
If Lizotte was moved in a deal and replaced by another forward on a league minimum contract, the ‘savings’ would still only leave the Kings about $1M to add a goalie. Also note, this would mean the Kings had just 13 forwards on the roster. That isn’t impossible to work with, just not ideal.
Another option here would be to move Copley and add Portillo in that spot. That at least frees up a few hundred thousand more to add to the goalie pool. Still, that’s not a lot of money to spend on a goalie.
We’ve mentioned previously, in theory, the Copley contract could be easy to move after July 1 because the Kings will be paying half of the contract in a bonus payment. Thus, starting next week, the contract is a good one for teams looking to hit the salary cap floor (and/or for teams not up against the cap) because Copley’s deal adds $1.5M to the cap, while only costing $750K in actual cash.
Blake struck gold with Phil Danault two summers ago and did it again with Keven Fiala last summer. Will Dubois make him 3-for-3? That won’t be known for several more months. It was definitely another big summer roster swing. Just don’t put those calculators away quite yet. Things appear to be just getting started.
More on the Dubois trade details and LA’s situation with various RFAs can be found at the links below.
In other #GoKingsGo
Goalie Matt Vilalta and forward Aidan Dudas are not expected to receive qualifying offers (making them unrestricted free agents in a few days).
Hearing plans for Zack MacEwen will be finalized in next 48 hours.
— The Mayor | Team MM (@mayorNHL) June 27, 2023
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