The Kings agreed to terms with the last of their own free agents Friday, when they announced a new two-season contract for forward Kyle Clifford. The 22-year-old Clifford had 14 points (seven goals, seven assists) and 51 penalty minutes in 48 games during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season.
There’s one name left on the Kings’ list of unsigned free agents and that’s Kyle Clifford’s. With a little more than $250,000 left under the salary cap, it would seem unlikely the Kings can re-sign him. So, it would seem they’re done for the off-season as far as signing and re-signing free agents. Here’s a closer look at what they’ve done:
The decisions Wednesday by Trevor Lewis, Jake Muzzin, Alec Martinez and Jordan Nolan to elect salary arbitration means the Kings have only two remaining free agents to be signed or unsigned, and it’s possible Dustin Penner and Kyle Clifford could be headed elsewhere because of the team’s salary-cap constraints. Here’s an update:
Unrestricted free agents
Dustin Penner, left wing: Unsigned.
Keaton Ellerby, defenseman: Re-signed for one season, $735,000.
Brad Richardson, center: Signed two-year, $2.3-million deal with Vancouver.
Rob Scuderi, defenseman: Signed four-year, $13.5-million deal with Pittsburgh.
Restricted free agents
Kyle Clifford, left wing: Unsigned.
Trevor Lewis, center: Opted for salary arbitration.
Alec Martinez, defenseman: Opted for salary arbitration.
Jake Muzzin, defenseman: Opted for salary arbitration.
Jordan Nolan, center: Opted for salary arbitration.
Outside free agent
Jeff Schultz, defenseman: Signed one-year, $700,000 contract.
Free agency begins Friday. Here’s a look at the Kings restricted free agents:
Kyle Clifford, LW, 7 goals, 7 assists, plus-1, 48 games. 2012-13 salary $680,000.
Keaton Ellerby, D, 0 goals, 3 assists, plus-3, 44 games. 2012-13 salary $700,000.
Trevor Lewis, C, 5 goals, 9 assists, plus-5, 48 games. 2012-13 salary $700,000.
Alec Martinez, D, 1 goal, 4 assists, minus-2, 27 games. 2012-13 salary $737,5000.
Jake Muzzin, D, 7 goals, 9 assists, plus-16, 45 games. 2012-13 salary $577,500.
Jordan Nolan, C, 2 goals, 4 assists, minus-5, 44 games. 2012-13 salary: $540,000.
Thanks to capgeek.com for salary info.
Kings coach Darryl Sutter wouldn’t come out and say winger Kyle Clifford would play in Game 4 against the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday. Sutter did say everyone on the ice for Monday’s practice in El Segundo was available to play. Clifford was on the ice, so he is available to play. See how that works? Clifford, who is scoreless in five games while playing an average of about 9 1/2 minutes, suffered a shoulder injury during the Kings’ first-round victory over the St. Louis Blues and hasn’t played in the second round.
Kyle Clifford skated with a large group of call-ups from the Kings’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Manchester (N.H.) Monarchs for the third day. But Kings coach Darryl Sutter said Clifford hasn’t been cleared for contact. Clifford has sat out the last three games, including the first two of the Kings’ second-round playoff series against the San Jose Sharks, because of an upper-body injury.
Here’s coach Darryl Sutter’s explanation for enforcer Kyle Clifford’s absence from the Kings’ morning skate Friday at Staples Center: “He was out there. He gets here before you guys. Then he did a Geico commercial. Then he was doing the weather for Channel 4 this morning, up in the helicopter.” Sutter said more seriously: “He had a maintenance day.”
The Kings won’t have team captain Dustin Brown when they face the San Jose Sharks in the regular-season finale Saturday night at Staples Center. Brown will serve the second game of a two-game suspension from the NHL for elbowing Jason Pominville of the Minnesota Wild during the Kings’ loss Tuesday. Brown is eligible to return for Game 1 of the playoffs next week. Until then, the Kings will be shorthanded.
The Columbus Blue Jackets weren’t happy to see their five-game winning streak end with a 2-1 loss to the Kings on Thursday night at Staples Center. The Kings weren’t thrilled with the end of the game, when the Blue Jackets’ Brandon Dubinsky took what they believed to be a few liberties with defenseman Drew Doughty after the final buzzer. TV replays indicated Doughty initiated the confrontation with a punch as Dubinsky had his back turned. Dubinsky then threw a series of punches at Doughty, drawing a match penalty.
“Just a cheap shot, and that’s his personality” Kings enforcer Kyle Clifford said of Dubinsky’s actions. “We’ve got guys out there and he goes after Doughty, who’s not our toughest player, not the smartest thing. But we got the win.”
The Kings scratched 20-year-old rookie Tyler Toffoli and Jordan Nolan returned to the lineup for Thursday’s game against the Dallas Stars at Staples Center. Nolan generated a quality scoring chance, cutting through the Stars’ defense and unleashing a shot from the slot that Kari Lehtonen had to be sharp to handle. Kyle Clifford had another good scoring opportunity for the Kings, breaking ahead of the pack on a shorthanded bid in the closing seconds of the opening period. The Kings outshot the Stars 12-5.