Just when it looked like everything was settled with the LA Kings 2023-24 opening night roster… surprise, not so fast!
After we reported earlier this morning that Jaret Anderson-Dolan was headed to waivers, everything appeared to be settled. Prior to training camp beginning, it was believed David Rittich would eventually be headed to waivers. A few weeks ago, though, we floated the idea of potentially sending Pheonix Copley to waivers instead, solely for the purpose of creating an additional $300k in cap space.
Speaking with various sources this morning, here is an explanation of where things stand this afternoon:
Coach Todd McLellan still needs to decide what he wants to do with the opening night roster. Does he want to go with 12 forwards? Because, if so, the Arthur Kaliyev suspension is making things challenging. However, it’s not impossible.
Using the above projection (including having Jordan Spence at RD3, with Brandt Clarke in the AHL), the Kings had enough money to keep Andreas Englund on the NHL roster. That would also mean playing an 11+7 configuration for the first two games.
With Rittich still on the roster right now, the team is not cap compliant at the moment. Tomorrow afternoon, opening night rosters are due to the league office. To become cap compliant, the Kings will need to send Quinton Byfield and/or Jordan Spence to the AHL.
That doesn’t mean those young players will not be playing on Wednesday night, though. It would only be for cap compliance on Monday.
As we understand things, the plan right now is to have extra forwards at practice on Monday morning. Take note that practice is before the deadline for submitting a cap compliant roster, so things will look different later in the day.
Expect to see several transactions throughout the week to make the Kings cap compliant. Some of it will just be paper transactions or temporary moves, at the very least.
If they decide they want an extra forward up on the roster to draw in for Kaliyev on Wednesday, the most likely option would be one of Alex Turcotte, Alex Laferriere, and Anderson-Dolan (if he clears waivers).
Thus, the Kings options basically boil down to this:
– To have an extra forward for Wednesday night’s game, send Spence down and play Englund with Toby Björnfot on the third pair. This would mean a 12+6 roster configuration vs. the Avalanche. It will also require one of the three goalies going on waivers (most likely Rittich).
– Go with 11 forwards and seven defensemen on opening night. This would basically leave the roster as listed above, with Englund as the seventh defenseman and playing. They’d be short a forward for the first two games due to Kaliyev’s suspension. To end up here, one of the goalies (again, most likely Rittich) needs to go on waivers no later than Tuesday at 11am Pacific.
– Putting Copley on waivers over Rittich
seems less likely to happen. Yet it would create more cap space than sending Rittich to AHL Ontario. It just wouldn’t create enough space this week for Spence and another forward to be up. So, McLellan would still have to play 11+7 or leave Spence in the AHL to call up a forward and go 12+6.
– Put Englund (and a goalie) on waivers to create cap room for an extra forward. This would leave the third defensive pair as Björnfot-Spence, plus they could recall the forward of McLellan’s choosing to replace Kaliyev in the lineup while he’s suspended.
– Put Bjornfot (and a goalie) on waivers to create cap room for an extra forward. This is similar to the scenario above except it leaves the third defensive pair as Englund-Spence. On the surface, this doesn’t seem like the move.
And for those asking, why put JAD on waivers today if he’s even a potential option to play on Wednesday? The answer is, to keep Englund on the roster, as has been the plan for some time now. That left Anderson-Dolan going on waivers at some point. Playing the odds, it would theoretically be easier to sneak him through waivers today rather than in a week from now.
Regardless of how it all shakes out, there will be some salary cap gymnastics going on until Kaliyev can return for Game 3.
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