Free agency doesn’t begin until July 1, but the Kings (and every other NHL team) can give their own players contract extensions at any point between now and then. They’ve already done it with one unrestricted free agent, agreeing to terms with coach Darryl Sutter on a new deal that will kick in when his old one expires July 1.
Here are the Kings’ unrestricted free agents (eligible to sign with any team without the Kings able to match the offer), per generalfanager.com:
Forwards Milan Lucic, Kris Versteeg and Trevor Lewis.
Defensemen Jamie McBain and Luke Schenn.
Goalie Jhonas Enroth.
Here are the Kings’ restricted free agents (the Kings have the right to match offers from other teams):
Forward: Nic Dowd.
Kings coach Darryl Sutter
The Kings and Darryl Sutter have agreed on a new contract. A team spokesman said a formal announcement would be made Friday. Terms were not immediately available. Sutter’s three-year contract was due to expire July 1 and Kings general manager Dean Lombardi said last week there was a “very fair” offer on the table. The Los Angeles Times first reported the agreement Thursday afternoon.
Sutter is 186-112-45 in four-plus seasons with the Kings. He led the team to Stanley Cup championships in 2014 and ’12. The San Jose Sharks eliminated them in the first round of the playoffs this season, and there’s been plenty of speculation in recent days and weeks that the Kings’ roster could undergo a major shakeup for 2016-17. The head coach will remains the same, however.
“Failure is the best teacher,” Lombardi said last week. “So it’s very simple for every part of this organization right now … We have to look at ourselves in the mirror and admit that these two things happened, and now we have to get back on that path – the innovation, the spark, the challenge that was there seven years ago and we were coming from the gutter. You’ve got to get it back.”
Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen needs a new contract for next season. He can become a restricted free agent July 1. Here’s some of what he had to say Saturday about free agency and remaining with the Ducks:
“Tough to say right now. I think when the time comes some decisions will be made. I like playing here and all the guys love having me in the net. I like it here, so obviously I would love to play (here). It’s their decision to make, but I think I definitely proved that I can be a No. 1 goalie, especially in the playoffs to do well. Last year, I took the team deep. It didn’t pan out this year, but I feel like I personally did my part in trying … obviously, you’ve got to be better … but to get to a Game 7. It’s decided by a single goal or two goals early like that. Other than that, I played well. I liked my preparations before that. Sometimes it doesn’t work out.”
Andersen also cleared up the specifics of the injury that sidelined him for the last few weeks of the regular season, before he returned to shut out the Washington Capitals in the finale, helping the Ducks clinch their fourth straight Pacific Division title.
“I took a shot two days before (the Calgary game) in the jaw and it kind of locked up on me, some muscles around that area and messed with my eyes and made me feel dizzy,” he explained. “It took a couple of days to figure out, but after that I got the right treatment on my jaw and started working with my eye doctor to get back and make sure my eye movements were doing the right things. It was in practice. It was a tipped shot and kind of came from the side and locked up some muscles.”
The Ducks signed left wing Kevin Roy to a two-year entry-level contract Friday. The 22-year-old Roy was the Ducks’ fourth-round draft pick (97th overall) in 2012. He scored 65 goals and 150 points in 130 games with Northeastern between 2012-16.
The Ducks traded speed for snarl Thursday, when they sent left wing Jiri Sekac to the Chicago Blackhawks for left wing Ryan Garbutt. Sekac had only one goal and three points in 22 games this season. Garbutt had two goals and six points in 43 games with the Blackhawks. Each player has been traded twice in the last 12 months. The Ducks got Sekac from the Montreal Canadiens last season. Garbutt went the other way in the trade that sent Patrick Sharp to Dallas from Chicago.
Sekac is eligible to become a restricted free agent at season’s end.
Garbutt has one season left on his contract, with a cap hit of $900,000.
Anze Kopitar recorded two goals and seven points in three games last week for the Pacific Division-leading Kings and the NHL named him its third star of the week. Kopitar had a goal and an assist in the KIngs’ 3-2 victory Sunday over the Ducks at the Honda Center. He leads the Kings with 38 points, including a team-best 25 assists. He signed an eight-season, $80-million contract extension last week, which could mean he plays 18 seasons with the Kings by the time in runs out in 2024.
Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks was the first star of the week and Sam Bennett of the Calgary Flames was the second star.
Check back later for reaction after the Kings’ practice.
Here’s some of what Kings center Anze Kopitar said after his eight-season, $80-million contract extension was finalized Saturday:
“It’s obviously a great feeling knowing I’m going to be a part of this team for years to come now. It’s something I’ve expressed throughout the process that I’d like to stay here. It’s some sort of relief and a nice feeling.”
Asked if the protracted talks were a distraction, he said:
“Maybe early on because I was thinking about when it’s going to be done and how it’s going to be done. I just put it aside and hoping eventually it’s going to get resolved. It’s a business and sometimes things like that drag on a little bit longer than you’d like, but now it’s nice to have it finalized.”
Then there was this:
“For me, it’s not going to change my game, it’s not going to change my mindset. It’s the same way. It’s be the best you can be and help your team win. I didn’t really have any doubts. I didn’t know, but I was hoping it was going to get done. I was leaning toward getting it done than doubting it, so I never really thought that far. I liked it to have been done before the season so it would have been by me, but you realize it’s a business, it’s a process. When two parties collide like that it can go a little bit longer, just longer, I guess. This one went a bit longer. It’s done and I’m happy about it.”
The Kings made it official Saturday. They signed center Anze Kopitar to an eight-season, $80-million contract that begins in 2016-17 and runs through 2023-24, which means he could be a King for life. There is a no-movement clause for the first four seasons, then changes to a limited-movement clause in which Kopitar would submit seven teams to which he would accept a trade.
More after the Kings play the Ottawa Senators at Staples Center.
The Kings and center Anze Kopitar are close to finalizing an eight-season, $80-million contract extension, according to reports Wednesday.
The Kings reached a settlement agreement with former player Mike Richards on Friday on his grievance against the team in the wake of the club’s termination of his contract during the off-season. “The terms are agreeable to all parties,” the Kings said in a statement without releasing any details.
The NHL Players Association sent out a similar email to reporters.
The Kings severed ties with Richards in June, after he was arrested at a Canadian border crossing with a controlled substance, reportedly Oxycontin. The move enabled the Kings to cut an unproductive player who had five years and $22 million remaining on his contract. The NHLPA filed on a grievance on behalf of Richards, and a hearing was scheduled for this month.
Richards was a member of the Kings’ Stanley Cup teams in 2012 and ’14. He is currently a man without a team, an unsigned free agent. The Kings were expected to buy out Richards after he scored only five goals and 16 points in 53 games last season, both career lows. He also played 16 games in the minors, the first of his career for the 30-year-old former first-round draft pick.