Kings captain Dustin Brown, goaltender Jonathan Quick and unsigned free agent forward Trevor Lewis were invited Monday to attend the United States Olympic team orientation camp Aug. 26-27 in Arlington, Va. Brown and Quick were no-brainers for the selection committee and should be key members of Team USA’s roster for the Sochi Olympics.
Free agent forward Jordan Nolan avoided an arbitration hearing next month when he agreed to a new two-season, $1.4-million contract with the Kings on Friday. The website capgeek.com first reported the deal. Nolan had six points (two goals, four assists) in 44 games during the lockout-shortened 48-game season in 2012-13. His signing leaves free agent forward Trevor Lewis as the last of four Kings originally on the list of players who filed for arbitration. Lewis can avoid a hearing by signing with the team before his Aug. 2 hearing in Toronto. The Kings have roughly $1.5 million of salary cap space available to sign players for next season.
Can’t imagine anyone really wants to go through salary arbitration, and the NHL list is down to 14 from 21, according to the NHLPA. There once were four Kings on the list, but after defensemen Alec Martinez (Monday) and Jake Muzzin (last Friday) each agreed to new two-year deals, it’s down to only forwards Trevor Lewis and Jordan Nolan. Nolan is scheduled for Aug. 1 and Lewis is set for the next day. They can avoid the grueling hearings by agreeing to new contracts at any time before their dates.
Restricted free agents Trevor Lewis, Alec Martinez, Jake Muzzin and Jordan Nolan elected salary arbitration Wednesday, an attempt to solve contract impasses with the Kings. They are four of 21 players league-wide who elected to go this route. Teams also can take players to arbitration in order to settle disputes. The deadline is Thursday at 2 p.m. (PDT). The ruling of the arbitrator is final. Hearings are scheduled for July 22 through Aug. 6 in Toronto. Lewis, Martinez, Muzzin and Nolan became free agents July 5.
Dustin Brown pounced on a loose puck and swatted it into the back of the net with 1 minute, 43 seconds remaining in the third period of Game 2 of the Kings’ second-round playoff series against the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night at Staples Center.
Trevor Lewis guided a long rebound into the net from the left wing with 1:21 remaining in what became an improbable 4-3 come-from-behind victory for the Kings over the Sharks in the game and a two-games-to-none lead in the best-of-7 series.
First periods have been as tedious as third periods have been exciting lately for the Kings. There were only a handful of compelling moments in Thursday’s opening period, with Jaromir Jagr scoring on a power play for the Dallas Stars and Trevor Lewis countering with an even-strength strike for the Kings. Drew Doughty, looking for his first goal of the season, made a pretty move as he swept around the back of the net, but Dallas goalie Kari Lehtonen denied him on a wraparound try.
The Kings led 4-1 going into the third period, taking advantage of some lackluster goaltending from Colorado’s Semyon Varlamov. The Avalanche got within 2-1 after Milan Hejduk scored a power-play goal only 1:16 into the second period, but it didn’t take long before the Kings answered.
The Kings pressured the Calgary Flames from the opening faceoff Wednesday night, and the result was perhaps their best opening period of the season. Their sustained pressure resulted in a goal from Dustin Brown in the early minutes. After the Flames’ T.J. Brodie tied it, Trevor Lewis put the Kings ahead 2-1 with his first goal of the season. Kings coach Darryl Sutter liked Lewis’ play so much during a 3-1 victoy Tuesday over the Edmonton Oilers that he played him with Jeff Carter and Mike Richards for Wednesday’s game against the Flames. Said Lewis during a between-periods TV interview: “We were focused tonight. We knew we needed to come out and get our legs going after playing last night. … I happened to jump on the puck and it went in.”
Veteran forward Trent Hunter will join the Kings in training camp on a pro tryout contract. The 31-year-old forward has spent his entire NHL career with the New York Islanders, for whom he played only 17 games last season before tearing the medial collateral ligament in his left knee Nov. 24.
Hunter can provide a physical presence from the right wing at 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, but also brings some scoring touch. He had never scored fewer than 11 goals in an NHL season before 2010-11, when Hunter scored just one. In 459 career NHL games, he has 99 goals, 229 points and 201 penalty minutes.
The Kings already signed a similar player, albeit with less offensive upside, in Ethan Moreau. Forward Colin Fraser is also in the mix for a bottom-six role along with Kyle Clifford, Brad Richardson, Trevor Lewis, Scott Parse and Kevin Westgarth. Jarret Stoll seems to have the third-line center position locked down, so that means Hunter will likely have to beat out one contracted player for a roster spot.
Restricted free-agent forward Trevor Lewis re-signed with the Kings on Friday. His two-year deal pays a reported $1.45 million.
The announcement came with little surprise one day after general manager Dean Lombardi said a new contract was “close.” Lewis had only three goals and 13 points in 72 games last season, his first full year in the NHL. But he was hard to take out of the lineup because of his speed — a rare commodity on last year’s squad — and penalty-killing value. Lewis also had a goal and four points in the Kings’ six-game playoff series against San Jose.
Lewis can play either center or the wing, and figures to compete with Andrei Loktionov for the fourth-line center position in training camp.
The Kings also announced the signings of forwards Marc-Andre Cliche, Rich Clune and David Meckler, defensemen Andrew Campbell and Patrick Mullen, and goaltender Jeff Zatkoff. All six players spent the entire season in Manchester and were restricted free agents.
One player who won’t be returning to the Monarchs is Corey Elkins. The agent for the restricted free-agent forward wrote on Twitter that Elkins could be headed to Europe for a year and won’t re-sign with the Kings. Elkins had 18 goals and 44 points in 76 games for Manchester last season, after posting 21 goals and 43 points in 72 games the year before. Signed as a free agent out of Ohio State University, Elkins had one goal in three games with the Kings, all in 2009-10.