With Richardson signed, who’s next?

Brad Richardson became the latest restricted free agent to come to terms with the Kings on Wednesday, avoiding arbitration with a two-year deal that pays $1 million in 2011-12 and $1.35 million in 2012-13.

His annual salary-cap hit of $1.175 million is reasonable for a player who has a 14-goal season to his credit, kills penalties, adds speed to a relatively slow group of forwards, and can play all three forward positions. Richardson won 50.8 percent of his faceoffs last season, third on the team. He jelled with Kyle Clifford and Wayne Simmonds — who has since been traded to Philadelphia –during the playoffs, and his five points (two goals, three assists) in six games matched Clifford for the team lead.

According to capgeek.com, the Kings still have $10.7 million of cap room to play with.

Which leads to the question of who will be the next to sign.

It probably won’t be Drew Doughty.
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Detroit 7, Kings 3.

Did the anticipation, and the eventual catharsis, of the trade deadline catch up to the players? Was it bad luck? Maybe both?

Those were the questions that needed to be asked, because it just didn’t make sense that a team that had not given up more than three goals in a game since Jan. 8 would suddenly, out of nowhere, give up seven. Interesting to note that Terry Murray admitted to having thoughts of pulling Jonathan Quick after the Red Wings’ first goal, a bad-angle shot by Drew Miller that tied the game at 1.

Detroit scored the game’s next six goals to chase Quick, and the second-guessing began.

Here’s the game story, here’s the story about the Dustin Penner trade/Justin Williams extension, and here are a few notes that didn’t make the paper:
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Harrold signs

The Kings have signed restricted free agent defenseman Peter Harrold to a three-year contract. I’ll try to get the money on that at some point but I’m still out of the loop this week.

Also… the Kings are not trading Anze Kopitar. Please, folks, just stop this stuff. All you’re going to do is give yourselves ulcers. It’s just absurd, as are 98.4 percent of all rumors.

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Player evaluation: Harrold

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PETER HARROLD

This season: 25 games, 2 goals, 3 assists, plus-3 rating.

Positives: Hasn’t made any dramatic improvements, but is slowly and surely establishing himself as an NHL defenseman with a solid all-around game. Harrold has displayed good puck movement in the defensive zone during his limited time in the NHL and totaled 43 points in 49 games with Manchester this season, so he has some offensive upside.

Negatives: Size and speed are two of the drawbacks in Harrold’s game, but they won’t prevent him from being an NHL player. He could stand to get a little stronger, which would help the team’s overall toughness, and as he gets more experience, he should be better prepared to deal with the speed of the NHL game.

Looking ahead: Harrold seems likely, in the long term, to settle in as a fourth or fifth defenseman. With Johnson and Visnovsky already in the fold, the Kings need to sign or trade for at least one more strong defenseman to take some of the pressure off Harrold and allow him to thrive as he continues to develop.

Contract situation: Restricted free agent.

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Harrold happy to be here

From Don:

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Peter Harrold went from being “the” guy on defense for the Manchester Monarchs, to adding some necessary depth on the Kings’ blue line. The 24-year old says he has made the transition, but is still learning the NHL brand of hockey.

“It’s a pretty big transition, I mean the game is so much faster here,” Harrold said. “I think I’m fitting in pretty well and learning more and more every day. It’s important to try and get better every day.”

Still, it is kind of strange going from being the quarterback of the Monarchs’ power play to suddenly being a depth player for the Kings.

“It’s no problem for me. Obviously you want to get to the point where you can be on the power play at this level, but you have to crawl before you can walk,” he said. “I’m trying to learn a little more each and every day and when you watch those guys on the power play and try to pick up on the little things that they do so that when I get my chance I know what to do.”

Odds are that the depleted defensive unit at Manchester will get an infusion should Harrold be reassigned to the Monarchs following the conclusion of the Kings’ season.

“They haven’t talked to me about it yet, but I’d like to go back. I like playing in the playoffs and as soon as the season is done here, I hope they send me back,” Harrold said. “I pay a lot of attention to what is going on in Manchester. They’re my friends that played there all year and most of last year, so I’d love to go down there and help them in the playoffs.”

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