With a rebuild on the horizon, the Los Angeles Kings must find a way to open up roster space as well as salary cap room to take their next step under new head coach Todd McLellan. One potential contract that has come under scrutiny recently is that of Dion Phaneuf. In fact, Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos said late Saturday night that the Kings are considering buying out the veteran defenseman:
Other options that the L.A. Kings have is buying out Dion Phaneuf. He’s got two years left at $12 million. That would get him $8 million over the next four years and a chance to get back into unrestricted free agency on July 1.
Phaneuf signed a seven-year, $49MM contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2013, but the 34-year-old saw his play take a huge drop this season as he played in 67 games with just one goal and six points for the year. He received the first healthy scratch of his career in February and saw his ATOI drop from almost 20 minutes per game to 15. At $7MM per year for another two years, the team might be ready to move on from the veteran. While the team would see significant cap relief this year with a buyout as their cap hit would only be $2.92MM, the team would still have a considerable hit at $5.42MM next season as well as a $1.42MM in both 2021-22 and 2022-23.
The Kings have a number of veterans on their blue line, including Drew Doughty, Alec Martinez and Derek Forbort, although there has been talk that L.A. may opt to move Martinez as he is likely the team’s top trade chip if they want to upgrade their team. On top of that, the Kings may be ready to give some of its younger players more significant minutes this coming season. The team has a number of interesting players who could be ready, including Sean Walker, Paul Ladue, Kurtis MacDermid, Matt Roy, Kale Clague, former college stars Daniel Brickley and Michael Anderson, as well as recently acquired Sean Durzi, who dominated at the Memorial Cup last week.