What to expect when free agency begins

The Kings’ options are limited. They’re nearly hitting their heads on the NHL’s $69-million salary cap for next season, but since they’ve just won their second Stanley Cup championship in three seasons, maybe the best move is keeping their roster relatively intact for 2014-15.

Free agency begins Tuesday and Kings general manager Dean Lombardi doesn’t have a lot of spending money to chase players. The Kings’ payroll is a little bit north of $65 million and, according to the website capgeek.com, they have only $3.6 million to spend on free agents.

Forward Dwight King is eligible to become a restricted free agent, with the Kings holding the right to match any offers from the league’s other 29 games, and defenseman Willie Mitchell can become an unrestricted free agent, able to sign with any team if the price is right.

The Kings would like to re-sign King, a valuable depth player who had 15 goals and 15 assists in 77 games last season and turns 25 on Saturday. They’re probably not going to re-sign Mitchell, a 37-year-old veteran who missed all of 2012-13 because of a knee injury.

Lombardi’s boldest moves have already been achieved, with forward Marian Gaborik and defenseman Matt Greene agreeing last week to long-term deals to stay with the Kings. Gaborik agreed to a new seven-season contract; Greene’s deal is for four seasons.

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