When Drew Doughty inked his then record-setting eight-year, $88MM contract, he wasn’t signing up for a rebuild but that’s what the Kings have been doing lately. Speaking with reporters in an end-of-season media conference (video link), the veteran called on GM Rob Blake to make some significant additions to the roster this summer:
Me and ’Kopi,’ ’Quickie,’ ’Brownie,’ we’re all getting older. We all had, I thought, phenomenal seasons, but we’re running out of time. You’ve got two of the best players at their position, both ways, two of the most complete players at the position. And with all this cap room, yeah, we’ve got to bring guys in. That’s it, for sure. There’s no point just waiting for these prospects to develop when you’ve got guys in their prime, guys that are hungry to win and guys that are sick of losing so, yeah, we’ve got to bring guys in.
Doughty is certainly correct in that the Kings have ample cap room; per CapFriendly, as they have a little over $20MM in space with no high-priced players to re-sign. That’s one of the benefits of having a roster that features several prospects on low-priced entry-level deals and as those will be getting expensive quicker, the time to strike for win-now veterans may very well be in the coming months.
Elsewhere around the league:
- Lightning head coach Jon Cooper told reporters, including Joe Smith of The Athletic (Twitter link) that forward Barclay Goodrow will be out for at least another week due to his upper-body injury. The 28-year-old was an important piece of Tampa Bay’s bottom six in the playoffs last year but will have to wait a bit longer to start this postseason. It’s not all bad news though with winger Nikita Kucherov and center Steven Stamkos expected to be available for tomorrow’s opener against Florida.
- The Blackhawks have started contract talks with several of their restricted free agents including defenseman Nikita Zadorov, notes Phil Thompson of the Chicago Tribune. GM Stan Bowman noted that talks are at the beginning stage for each of them. Zadorov’s arbitration eligibility makes his case a higher priority as it stands to reason that they do not want the defender to file, making him a non-tender candidate if they can’t get a deal done. Other restricted free agents this summer include winger Brandon Hagel and forward Pius Suter.