Here’s more from Kings general manager Dean Lombardi, who talked at some length Friday afternoon about giving forward Tyler Toffoli a two-season, $6.5-million contract extension and how it enabled him to also trade for physical forward Milan Lucic, and what’s next on his summer to-do list:
“I have to say our first priority, in terms of signing now, is (signing Anze) Kopitar (to an extension). The other thing I’d say, that shows this team cares about winning, is what Tyler Toffoli did. It shows how everything ties together. With the threat of offer sheets and everything out there, the way he handled the situation was exemplary.
“This is a top young player. He could wait for an offer sheet (from another team). He could demand millions in a long-term deal. We talked to him, and it’s certainly a fair deal but it’s still a good deal for him, but in no way did he hold anybody hostage. If Tyler Toffoli doesn’t step up and do this, we can’t do this (Lucic) deal.
“Then we would have exposed ourselves to an offer sheet. It’s just exemplary for a young player, to realize his time will come and take a good deal, but not try to shoot for the moon. So the team is allowed to go out and make itself better. Once this (trade) got rolling, it was not doable without Tyler signing. If we had done this without Tyler signing, we were exposed to an offer sheet. It’s a great example of guys caring about the right things. They’ll get their money when the time comes.”
Kings general manager Dean Lombardi agreed with the conventional wisdom in fandom, but he also explained the team’s trade Friday afternoon with the Boston Bruins for physical forward Milan Lucic this way, “This deal, we gave up quite a bit, but I was very clear I would not give up that unless it was not only the player, but a fit. Is it the loss of the other player (Justin Williams)? Yeah, but that’s not what drives it. This isn’t done unless it’s that type of player (Lucic).”
Lombardi all but acknowledged the departure of Williams as an unrestricted free agent next week.
Milan Lucic had this to say Friday about leaving the Boston Bruins and joining the Kings, “I think that’s the most exciting thing, I’m moving to a team that already knows how to win. The possibility of playing with (Anze) Kopitar and (Marian) Gaborik is an exciting feeling. I get to be a part of a great organization.”
Boston general manager Don Sweeney told reporters at the NHL Draft in Sunrise, Fla., that it was a tough call to Lucic to inform him of the deal. When told of Sweeney’s comments, Lucic said, “My emotions were there, too.”
The Kings traded their first-round pick in Friday’s draft, plus backup goaltender Martin Jones and a prospect to the Boston Bruins in exchange for physical forward Milan Lucic. The move continues the Kings’ commitment to big, rugged forwards but goes against the grain as the rest of a league moves toward faster and smaller lineups. Lucic is 6-foot-3, 235 pounds. He scored 18 goals and 44 points to go with 81 penalty minutes in 81 games last season with the Bruins.
Check back later for updates.
UPDATE: Kings confirm via Twitter
It’s not official yet, but reports Friday morning from NHL Draft HQ in Sunrise, Fla., indicate the Kings and Tyler Toffoli have agreed on a two-year, $6.5-million contract extension. Toffoli’s return was among the top items on general manager Dean Lombardi’s offseason to-do list. The 23-year-old Toffoli has scored 37 goals and 83 points in 148 career games over two-plus seasons in the NHL.
Check back later for more updates.
The NHL released its schedule for the 2015-16 season Thursday, and the Kings begin with a five-game homestand that starts with an Oct. 7 date with the San Jose Sharks. The Arizona Coyotes, Vancouver Canucks, Minnesota Wild and Colorado Avalanche also visit Staples Center before the Kings play their first road game Oct. 22 against the Sharks at the SAP Center.
The schedule is top-heavy with home dates for the Kings, as per usual at Staples Center. The Kings have a seven-game trip to play Boston, the Isles, Rangers, Devils, Washington, St. Louis and Nashville in February.
Here’s a link to the complete 82-game schedule that you can download off the team’s website: http://kings.nhl.com/club/page.htm?id=100458&navid=DL|LAK|home
The Kings suspended Slava Voynov several weeks ago because the defenseman suffered a non-hockey injury, a team spokesman confirmed Wednesday. Voynov was suspended by the NHL indefinitely in the wake of a domestic violence incident at his Redondo Beach home last October.
The 25-year-old Russian tore his right Achilles tendon, reportedly while playing tennis, and appeared at a pre-trial court appearance April 1 on crutches. His trial on charges of felony domestic violence against his wife, Marta Varlamova, is set for July 6 in Superior Court in Torrance.
The Kings’ move means his contract won’t count against the team’s salary cap. His contract would carry a $4.166 million salary-cap hit for the next four seasons. The league suspended him with pay after his arrest in the early-morning hours of Oct. 20.
A police officer testified Dec. 16 at Voynov’s preliminary hearing that Varlamova said her husband punched her in the face during an argument at a Halloween party. She also said he choked after the couple returned to their home, threw her to the floor and kicked her repeatedly.
Voynov also pushed her into a wall-mounted TV, which resulted in a gash above her left eye, which required several stitches to close. Voynov was arrested after he took Varlamova to an emergency room to be treated for her injuries, which included a 1 1/2-inch cut above her eye.
Voynov entered a not-guilty plea Dec. 29.
The Kings announced their 2015-16 exhibition schedule. Here it is:
Sept. 21, vs. Arizona, Bakersfield, 7 p.m.
Sept. 22 vs. Arizona, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 25 vs. Ducks, Honda Center, 7 p.m.
Sept. 27 vs. Colorado, Denver, 5 p.m.
Sept. 29 vs. Ducks, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 3 vs. Colorado, Las Vegas, 7 p.m.
Kings general manager Dean Lombardi said Sunday things got so bad for the inconsistent team this season that after a victory Feb. 7 to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the players barricaded themselves behind locked doors and garbage cans and held a players-only meeting.
The cans were stacked in front of the dressing room and meant to be a signal to Kings coach Darryl Sutter to stay out. The Kings then snapped from a midseason funk to win eight consecutive games before faltering down the stretch and missing the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Lombardi said during an hour-long session with reporters at the team’s El Segundo practice facility that he didn’t have a problem with the meeting in general, but took mild offense to the extreme measures the players took in locking out Sutter.
“I guess it’s fair to say there was a little scuffle in Tampa,” Lombardi said when asked about a report in the New York Post that suggested the incident happened during a winless trip to play the Vancouver Canucks, Edmonton Oilers and Calgary, Flames, which knocked them out of the playoffs.
Lombardi corrected several elements of the Post’s story, including the date and location of the incident.
“I could look at it and say, ‘That’s when we won eight in a row, so let’s do this more often,’” Lombardi said when asked if he was troubled by the incident. “In terms of what actually happened, maybe they don’t have to go to that extreme, but theoretically I don’t have a problem with it.”
Neither Sutter nor the Kings players were available for immediate comment.
Robyn Regehr played his 1,089th and last NHL game Saturday at Staples Center, one final battle for a hockey warrior whose hard-nosed style of play earned few headlines but whose teams couldn’t have won without his workhorse approach that served him so well.
The 34-year-old defenseman logged 21 minutes, 54 seconds of ice time in the Kings’ 4-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks on the final day of the regular season. He did not score a goal or record an assist, but played his customary hard-nosed game.
“I think it’s time to move on to the next chapter in life,” Regehr said in typical no-frills fashion, every bit as direct and to the point in the dressing room as he was while batting opposing forwards in the corners and in front of the net for two-plus seasons with the Kings and 15 overall.
“There’s a lot that goes into a decision like that. I’ve been thinking about it for a little while. You’ve got to think about your body and how it’s holding up, or not holding up. There’s family decisions and all that kind of stuff that’s involved with a decision like that. It’s a big decision and I think we have decided.”