All roads lead to Vladislav Gavrikov.
As we reported last month, the Kings have been looking to clear some cap space from their current NHL roster in preparation of finalizing a contract extension with Gavrikov prior to the NHL Draft. With a big move earlier today, LA GM Rob Blake has checked the first major box on his summer to-do list.
Goaltender Cal Petersen, defenseman Sean Walker, and prospect Helge Grans have been traded as part of a three-team deal with the Philadelphia Flyers and Columbus Blue Jackets. LA will also send a 2024 second round pick in the trade, as well as retain 30% of Ivan Provorov’s contract (he’ll end up in Columbus). In return, Blake ends up with his desired cap savings.
In addition, LA is receiving a pair of veteran depth players in defenseman Kevin Connauton (33 years old) and forward Hayden Hodgson (27). Both players have one year remaining on their contracts and are expected to be assigned to AHL Ontario during training camp in September — provided they clear waivers.
Connauton most recently played for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, recording 15 points in 63 games last season. He has also played parts of nine NHL seasons for the Flyers, Blue Jackets, Arizona Coyotes, Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars and Florida Panthers.
Hodgson also spent most of the 2022-23 season with Lehigh Valley, collecting eight points and 83 penalty minutes in 44 games. The 6-2, 208-pound forward has skated in seven career NHL games with the Flyers.
NOTE: Provorov has two years remaining on his current contract; with a cap hit of $6.75M per season, 30% retention is $2.025M.
In the deal:#LAKings saved $5.625M annual Cap Hit; $4.475M compared to Petersen buried in minors#CBJ adds $4.725M Cap Hit#Flyers add $900K Cap Hit, or save $250K if Petersen in minorshttps://t.co/duolGhBhOs
— PuckPedia (@PuckPedia) June 6, 2023
Next, we’re expecting the Kings to announce a new contract for Gavrikov in the days ahead. It will most likely come in at two years and just shy of $6M per season.
When the dust settles on these deals, the Kings will largely be cap compliant. While this isn’t mandated in June, as teams are allowed to be over the salary cap limit during the summer, it will relieve the pressure of having to make a move out of necessity in the weeks ahead (i.e. a cap-forced move, where the Kings would have little leverage).
This also allows LA to hold onto all three of their forwards who were considered trade candidates (Trevor Moore, Alex Iafallo, and Viktor Arvidsson).
In goal, the Kings will be looking to add an additional netminder to pair with Pheonix Copley. However, they’ll likely only have about $2M to make that move. We are not expecting Joonas Korpisalo to be an option for LA.
This also most likely rules them out of any trade speculation regarding John Gibson or Connor Hellebuyck.
Moving Walker in the trade was more than simply cap related. The Kings also needed to clear room on the right side for prospect Brandt Clarke, who is expected to begin next season on the NHL roster.
We will be constantly updating this throughout the day.
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