Final predictions

In terms of the Big Three (Hossa, Havlat, Gaborik), I’ll make the following predictions: Hossa will not be a King, and Havlat and/or Gaborik will be with the Kings only if they agree to short-term deals. Once you get beyond those three, I haven’t the slightest idea. Way too many names, way too wide open. I don’t even know if one or both of Gaborik/Havlat is open to signing short-term deals, but perhaps the lure of playing together might get it done? It’s going to be a crazy day all over the continent.

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First dominos: Bouwmeester and Gomez

As you’ve already seen tonight, Calgary rolled the dice with Jay Bouwmeester and won, with a five-year contract, and Montreal got Scott Gomez from the Rangers for a package that includes Chris Higgins. Neither move should be a big surprise, although it will be interesting to see if the Gomez deal starts any trends. It’s been known, since the trade deadline, that players such as Gomez, Smyth and Briere are there for the taking, by teams that want to take on enormous contracts, but will other guys get moved?

A quick communication with Dean Lombardi didn’t yield much tonight. When I jokingly asked what big deal he had in the works, he said that he and his staff were “just preparing our fall backs” tonight,” which is pretty standard. Should be a fun day tomorrow. I’ll do my best to stay on top of things, starting in the morning.

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Salary cap math

Just a note for those who might be baffled that the Kings aren’t considered favorites for a certain set of twins, based on all the salary-cap space available. Think of it this way… Look for a chart of team salaries beyond next season. Look, for example, at who is under contract for 2011-2012:

Kopitar, $6.8 million
Stoll, $3.6 million
Brown, $3.175 million
Greene, $2.95 million

That’s four players, at just over $16.5 million. If, then, you factor in two more forwards at roughly $6 million per year, you’re talking about six players making $28 million. Assuming the salary cap doesn’t go down (a risky assumption), that’s half the payroll on six players. Then you’re talking about filling the rest of the roster (at least 14 players) for $28 million.

Impossible? Certainly not, but consider that in the summer of 2011, Jonthan Bernier, Drew Doughty, Thomas Hickey, Oscar Moller and Wayne Simmonds will all, potentially, be restricted free agents. Can you make that math work? Maybe, but these are the kind of things that give headaches to GMs when they think about long-term deals.

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Brown, Johnson, Quick invited to camp

Kings forward Dustin Brown, defenseman Jack Johnson and goalie Jonathan Quick (and yes, I did miss Quick) are among the 34 players selected to the U.S. Olympic Men’s Hockey Orientation Camp, which runs from Aug. 17-19 in Woodbridge, Ill. Both Brown and Johnson represented the U.S. in the recent World Championships tournament. Here’s the full list of invited players…

Goaltenders: Ryan Miller, Jonathan Quick, Tim Thomas
Defensemen: Tom Gilbert, Tim Gleason, Ron Hainsey, Erik Johnson, Jack Johnson, Mike Komisarek, Paul Martin, Brooks Orpik, Brian Rafalski, Rob Scuderi, Ryan Suter, Ryan Whitney
Forwards: David Backes, David Booth, Dustin Brown, Dustin Byfuglien, Ryan Callahan, Chris Drury, Scott Gomez, Patrick Kane, Ryan Kesler, Phil Kessel, Jamie Langenbrunner, Ryan Malone, Mike Modano, Kyle Okposo, T.J. Oshie, Zach Parise, Joe Pavelski, Bobby Ryan, Paul Stastny

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Free agency, on the horizon

From one big week to the other…

Wednesday, for those who don’t keep close tabs, is the first day that unrestricted free agents can sign contracts with new teams. The Kings don’t have much work to do in terms of their own UFAs, as only Derek Armstrong, Kyle Calder, Denis Gauthier and Matt Moulson fall into that category. Restricted free agents needing new contracts include Teddy Purcell, Jack Johnson, Corey Elkins, Kevin Westgarth, Joe Piskula, Drew Bagnall, Scott Parse, Danny Taylor and Vladimir Dravecky.

I’m still awaiting confirmation as to which players the Kings have made qualifying offers to, but we should find that out today.

As for the unrestricted free agents, the Kings have identified the three “top-tier” left wingers. Not surprisingly, they are Marian Gaborik, Martin Havlat and Marian Hossa. Realistically, the Kings’ chances of landing any one of those three is iffy at best. Hossa and Havlat are likely to bring huge multi-year contracts. That leaves Gaborik as the wild card, and the Kings are likely to be interested only if Gaborik is willing to sign a one-year contract, or maybe two years at the most.

After that, there’s a long list of potential targets at left wing, so anything could happen this week. As previously discussed, I also wouldn’t be surprised to see the Kings go after a veteran defenseman on a short term deal. Rob Blake is available…just kidding. It should be an interesting couple of days…

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Summer development camp

The Kings’ annual summer development camp is scheduled to run the week of July 6-12. Typically, it’s a good event, with almost all of the Kings’ top prospects participating, and Brayden Schenn said on Friday that he definitely wants to attend. As soon as I get a schedule and roster, I will pass it along.

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