- Two-time Stanley Cup champion goalie Jonathan Quick today told The Fourth Period’s Dennis Bernstein that he plans on playing past this upcoming season, his 16th in the NHL. Quick is entering the final season of a 10-year, $58MM contract extension signed with the Los Angeles Kings in 2012.
- Kings center Alex Turcotte is on the roster for their rookie tournament but AHL Ontario head coach Marco Sturm told reporters, including Andrew Knoll of the Los Angeles Daily News, that Turcotte has not been cleared to participate yet. The 21-year-old sustained two concussions last season, the second of which came in the playoffs. Evidently, the symptoms from that one are still lingering which could have his ability for the start of training camp next week in question.
- A final note from Friedman today, the Los Angeles Kings may have been interested in trying to sign defenseman Mikey Anderson to a long-term contract extension. As he elaborates, Friedman believes the team had talked to him about what it would take to get a long-term deal done, but just didn’t have the ability to fit it in. The Kings and Anderson will be able to sign another extension beginning on January 1st of next year, and though Friedman didn’t say a long-term signing is going to be announced then and there, he does believe Los Angeles was able to get a sense of what that deal might have to look like and can better handle it in the future. Rumors that the Kings could try to sign Anderson long-term are interesting considering the defenseman signed just a one-year, $1MM contract a few days ago, causing some to wonder that if that was the price on a one-year pact, it couldn’t have been all that much more for four or more years. Though that might be the case, the recent signings of Anderson an fellow defenseman Sean Durzi leave the team with just under $500K in cap room, which would be a tight squeeze if Anderson’s number came in just under $1.5MM per season, but on a long-term deal for a promising young defenseman, that number may well have been higher.
With training camp just a few days away, the Los Angeles Kings have finished up some pressing business. Sean Durzi has signed a new two-year contract with the club that carries an average annual value of $1.7MM. The restricted free agent did not have arbitration rights this season.
Durzi, 23, burst onto the scene in his rookie year with 27 points in 64 games, while averaging close to 20 minutes a night for the Kings. Despite that strong performance, he stayed relatively under the radar, not earning a single vote in the Calder Trophy discussion and seemingly surprising the entire hockey world when he and the Kings pushed the Edmonton Oilers to seven games in the first round.
Acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Jake Muzzin trade (that also netted the Kings Carl Grundstrom and Tobias Bjornfot), Durzi had 50 points in 91 games for the Ontario Reign of the AHL, somewhere he doesn’t project to play for quite a while. His performance in the playoffs, when he logged more than 21 minutes a night in the first-round series, along with his youth and offensive upside, make him a pretty attractive piece for the team to build around.
Along with Bjornfot, Michael Anderson, and Jordan Spence, the Kings actually have quite the impressive group of young defensemen ready to lead the way this year, not to mention Brandt Clarke and Helge Grans on their way as top prospects.
A contract like this, which will leave Durzi a restricted free agent again at its expiry, comes with the potential for huge surplus value if he can continue to improve. A $1.7MM cap hit is very affordable, and if Durzi steps into a regular top-four role with powerplay time, he will almost certainly outperform the deal right away.
As with every bridge deal, however, the team may have to pay for that bargain later, if Durzi is deserving of a long-term contract down the road. His next deal will certainly be buying out UFA seasons, meaning the price tag will go higher. He will also have the benefit of arbitration rights, an important factor for defensemen who rack up points like the smooth-skating youngster.
No matter what, for the next two years Durzi will be locked in as an inexpensive option for the team while Matt Roy and Sean Walker’s remain on the books. After the 2023-24 season both of those players are scheduled for unrestricted free agency, which will give the team a chance to reassess the financial situation.
The Kings have now completed their RFA negotiations for the summer and will focus on training camp later this month.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images
As reported by CapFriendly on Tuesday afternoon, three players have signed PTOs today: goaltender Christopher Gibson with the Arizona Coyotes, center Nate Thompson with the Los Angeles Kings, and winger Daniel Sprong with the Seattle Kraken.
Given the tumultuous goaltending situation in Arizona, the 29-year-old Gibson could vie for a spot as a full-time backup for the first time in his long professional career. Originally a second-round draft pick of the Los Angeles Kings in 2011, he’s played professionally for the Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Islanders, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Florida Panthers organizations. He had a 7-5-3 record, .907 save percentage, and one shutout in just 14 games with the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers last season. While those totals may be low, he was a part of an uncomfortably crowded crease last season in Charlotte as they played home to both Panthers and Seattle Kraken prospects. He has a long history of strong minor-league play that may give him the inside track over the team’s other two backup options, Ivan Prosvetov and Jon Gillies.
Thompson, far and away one of the most seasoned players to sign a PTO this offseason, brings 844 games of NHL experience to Kings camp. While he did have just three points in 33 games with the Philadelphia Flyers last season and is a 13th forward at best at this point in his career, the 37-year-old Thompson could be a veteran anchor to help guide a youthful Kings’ bottom six, even if it is mainly from the press box. It could also be an inside track on a front office job for Thompson if he doesn’t make the team and opts for retirement instead.
The Kraken know what they’re getting in Sprong, who had six goals in 16 games for them last season after arriving at the Trade Deadline from the Washington Capitals. Seattle’s roster is more crowded this time around with multiple free agent and trade additions, especially on the wing, but he could bump some players like John Hayden and Karson Kuhlman onto the waiver wire and down to the AHL expansion Coachella Valley Firebirds if he makes the team and pushes for a spot at the bottom of the lineup with some power-play minutes.
With training camps on the horizon, there are still some goaltending situations around the NHL that are unsettled. Accordingly, those teams may be planning on picking up a second goaltender on waivers during the preseason as Montreal did with Samuel Montembeault last season. With that in mind, let’s examine who might be looking for a goalie and which teams have a netminder that could be of interest.
Arizona: The Coyotes have one of their two goalies locked up for three years in Karel Vejmelka but after that, there is nothing but question marks. Farmhands Jon Gillies and Ivan Prosvetov have some NHL experience but Gillies struggled last season with New Jersey and Prosvetov hasn’t posted a .900 SV% in the last two seasons in the minors. Cap space isn’t an issue for them so they can look at any of the options available on waivers or take on a bad contract for additional compensation.
Chicago: Right now, Alex Stalock is their backup goalie. He has missed most of the last two seasons battling his way back from myocarditis and struggled considerably in the minors last year. Granted, the Blackhawks certainly aren’t in win-now mode but in a perfect world, they’d like Arvid Soderblom to have an uninterrupted year with AHL Rockford. Currently, he’s third on the depth chart but if there’s a chance to bring in a low-cost second-stringer and push Stalock into the spot of being the one to be recalled if an injury arises, they might want to take it. The waiver wire could be the chance to add that.
Philadelphia: With Ivan Fedotov being blocked from going to North America this season due to a military commitment, the Flyers are going to have to turn to Plan B. Felix Sandstrom is currently their second option but he has just five career NHL appearances under his belt. They’re looking to be more competitive this season so this could be a spot for an upgrade. Granted, Sandstrom would then need to be waived to be sent back to Lehigh Valley but that would have been the case if Fedotov had been able to play so it’s a risk they might be comfortable with.
Of course, an injury or two during the preseason could add to the list of suitors in the coming weeks as well.
Teams That Could Lose A Goalie
For the purpose of this exercise, the focus is going to be on either young goalies that could be appealing or veterans with some recent NHL experience that could fill a gap.
Buffalo: Malcolm Subban was brought back to be the veteran to partner with Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen in AHL Rochester but he has 86 games of NHL experience under his belt and a deal that’s only $100K above the league minimum. He has been a full-time backup going back to his time with Vegas which would also bolster his chances of potentially being claimed.
Dallas: Right now, Anton Khudobin appears to be the odd one out again with Jake Oettinger and Scott Wedgewood set to be the goalie duo for the Stars. Khudobin is now in the final year of his deal that carries a $3.33MM AAV. It wouldn’t be shocking if he cleared waivers but if Dallas wants to free up a bit of extra money for Jason Robertson’s contract, they’ll be calling Arizona to see what it would cost for them to take that contract on.
Los Angeles: Pheonix Copley has cleared waivers without any concerns the last couple of years but also was on a pricey contract for a third-string option. Now, he’s on a much more palatable deal ($825K) and is coming off an impressive season in AHL Hershey. The 30-year-old was the backup for the Capitals back in 2018-19.
Nashville: This is the most interesting one to keep an eye on. Although Connor Ingram held his own in the playoffs for the Preds, they still went and brought in Kevin Lankinen on a one-year, $1.5MM deal. That’s a lot to pay a third-string option so it could put Ingram in jeopardy. However, if they try to sneak Ingram through, there’s a very good chance he’ll be claimed, especially with an AAV that’s below the minimum. Carrying three goalies is a possibility but generally not ideal so something might have to give here.
New York (R): The Rangers went and brought in Louis Domingue on a two-year contract to be their insurance policy but he might appeal to some other teams as well. He did alright in the playoffs for Pittsburgh and has 142 games of NHL experience over parts of two seasons. Both years are one-way which was likely to try to deter other teams from claiming him but with an AAV of just $775K, he may attract some interest.
Seattle: With Martin Jones joining the Kraken as their backup, that’s going to push both Joey Daccord and Magnus Hellberg to the waiver wire. Daccord was viewed as a possible NHL option not long ago and at 26, there could still be some upside after a strong season with AHL Charlotte. Hellberg, meanwhile, has been dominant in the KHL the last few years which prompted Detroit to give him a brief look down the stretch last season. Other teams might want to take a look as well depending on how things go over the next few weeks.
Winnipeg: Mikhail Berdin is the one goalie on this list that doesn’t have any NHL experience but at 24, he’s also the youngest in this group. If a rebuilding team wants to take a look at a younger backup to see if there’s something there, this is the type of goalie they’d probably want to go for.
Of course, there will be other goalies that will hit the waiver wire in the coming weeks that could be of interest to teams as well depending on what transpires over the preseason. There won’t be a ton of waiver activity between the pipes – there rarely is – but one or two of these players could be changing teams in the coming weeks.
The goalie market this offseason was a busy one, with many teams looking to address their needs, but seeming to find less options than there were spots to fill. Some teams who had the need for several years were able to finally address it, like the Edmonton Oilers signing of All Star Jack Campbell and the New Jersey Devils acquisition of Vitek Vanecek. Some who found out rather abruptly that they would be needing help in net, like the Toronto Maple Leafs, who lost Campbell, addressed it by signing Ilya Samsonov and acquiring Matt Murray. Others, who didn’t seem to be in urgent need of goalie help went out and found it anyways, like the Ottawa Senators with Cam Talbot and the Washington Capitals with Darcy Kuemper.
With all the shuffling, it seems many teams are now set in goal, or at least hope that they are. But, just as the demand maybe subsides, the supply on next year’s market will be rather rich. There appears to only be one star that will be available, that being Pittsburgh Penguins netminder Tristan Jarry, but after that, a bevy of veteran backstops, capable of being a quality starting goalies, will be on the market. Joining them are a large group of capable backups like Jonathan Bernier, Laurent Brossoit, Jaroslav Halak, and Antti Raanta, as well as a pair of intriguing, less experienced options like Adin Hill and Alex Nedeljkovic.
But, it’s this group of veterans who could pose an interesting shuffle, obtaining potentially very similar contracts based on their performance this season. Of course, the 2022-23 campaign will have a major impact on their value heading into the offseason, but for now, a compare and contrast of these five similar options could be an interesting exercise.
Contract: Two years, $5.75MM ($2.875MM AAV)
2021-22 Stats: 35 GP, 9-20-4, 2 SHO, .905 SV%, 3.30 GAA
Career Stats: 353 GP, 168-126-35, 23 SHO, .911 SV%, 2.60 GAA
Once considered one of the most exciting goalie prospects of his generations, Allen never panned out as a superstar in net, however he has become a reliable starting and backup goalie, depending on the role he’s put in. Allen spent his first seven NHL seasons with the St. Louis Blues, earning the majority of playing time between 2015-2018, but a surprising breakout performance from Jordan Binnington in 2018-19 pushed Allen into a backup role. After the 2019-20 season, with one year at $4.35MM left on his contract, the Blues shipped Allen to the Montreal Canadiens for a pair of seventh round picks.
His numbers since heading north of the border haven’t been what they once were, but the real regression came when the team around him regressed in 2021-22. Allen’s next deal may very well resemble the one he signed in the 2021 offseason, but a strong rebound performance, considering the context of how the Canadiens perform around him, could increase not only increase his AAV, but also the term for the 32-year-old.
Contract: Two years, $9MM ($4.5MM AAV)
2021-22 Stats: 52 GP, 35-14-3, 4 SHO, .922 SV%, 2.17 GAA
Career Stats: 445 GP, 261-114-51, 23 SHO, .916 SV%, 2.59 GAA
A four-time All Star and two-time Jennings Trophy winner, receiving one of each in 2021-22, the answer might seem obvious that Andersen would sign the biggest free agent deal of any goaltender in 2023, even better than Jarry. But, the former Maple Leafs star netminder doesn’t come without his concerns and that could hamper his open-market potential. After breaking out with the Anaheim Ducks from 2013-2016, Andersen was dealt to Toronto where he continued to develop into one of the league’s best, posting three straight seasons of at least 60 starts and no less than a .917 SV%.
The success, however, began to taper off and in 2019-20, Andersen regressing slightly to a .909 SV% and 2.85 GAA. The 2020-21 season would be no better, his numbers dropping to a .895 SV% and 2.96 GAA as the veteran dealt with injuries. Ultimately, Campbell took over the net for Toronto and that offseason, Andersen was left to hit free agency, signing his current deal with the Carolina Hurricanes. The goalie found tremendous rebound success in Carolina and was even receiving Vezina Trophy consideration before injuries ended his season on April 16th, just weeks before the playoffs were set to begin. If Andersen can continue his strong performance and show that injuries are a thing of the past, he may be the runaway favorite in this poll, but it’s been several years since the soon-to-be 33-year-old has compiled a fully-healthy season.
Contract: Ten years, $58MM ($5.8MM AAV)
2021-22 Stats: 46 GP, 23-13-9, 2 SHO, .910 SV%, 2.59 GAA
Career Stats: 712 GP, 359-262-78, 56 SHO, .913 SV%, 2.42 GAA
An unlikely name on this list for several reasons, Quick re-emerged as an important piece in net for the Los Angeles Kings as the team itself awoke from a semi-lengthy rebuild in 2021-22. Quick still wasn’t the star he had been from 2009-2017, but after several seasons of poor play and injuries, it was a return to being the steady presence in net that the Kings had historically expected from the 36-year-old. Los Angeles had been hoping to transition the net from Quick to Calvin Petersen, especially after giving the younger netminder a three-year, $15MM contract set to begin this season, but Petersen’s struggles have given Quick new opportunity and thus new life.
Turning 37 in January, with recent history considered, even another strong showing is unlikely to propel Quick to a big payday, but if he can show that he’ll be among those goaltenders who age gracefully, his long resume as a reliable, two-time Cup winning goaltender will reward him in free agency.
Contract: Three years, $11MM ($3.667MM AAV)
2021-22 Stats: 49 GP, 32-12-4, 3 SHO, .911 SV%, 2.76 GAA
Career Staats: 396 GP, 201-142-34, 27 SHO, .915 SV%, 2.63 GAA
After several up-and-down seasons in a few cities after his trade from the New York Rangers, Cam Talbot appeared to finally settle in and take the next step with the Minnesota Wild in 2020-21, sharing the net with Kaapo Kahkonen. But, 2021-22 threw a wrinkle into the equation by no fault of Talbot, as the team dealt Kahkonen to the San Jose Sharks and brought in future Hall of Famer Marc-Andre Fleury. The Wild in turn gave the majority of the playing time to Fleury, leaving Talbot to back up. Talbot had hoped to remain in Minnesota and show he could take the net back, but after Minnesota chose to re-sign Fleury, Talbot was shipped to the Ottawa Senators, where he figures to see the bulk of playing time.
Turning 36 next July, Talbot may not see the term some of the other goalies on this list might be able to find, but much like Quick, proof he can age well in the role may ultimately work in his favor. The key for Talbot will be to show, besides his ability to age well, that his up and down career is no more, and that the solid performance in the State of Hockey was not merely an extended “up,” but is instead the new normal for the University of Alabama-Huntsville product.
Contract: Four years, $20MM ($5MM AAV)
2021-22 Stats: 31 GP, 10-17-2, 2 SHO, .911 SV%, 2.91 GAA
Career Stats: 560 GP, 261-211-62, 36 SHO, .916 SV%, 2.64 GAA
When the New York Islanders allowed Robin Lehner to walk after a breakout season where he was named a Vezina Trophy finalist in order to sign Varlamov, many around the hockey world raised their eyebrows. As good as Lehner has been, the decision to bring in Varlamov has paid dividends on Long Island, as the veteran teamed up with Thomas Greiss and later his fellow countryman Ilya Sorokin to create a formidable tandem in net. However over the life of the deal, Varlamov’s role has diminished, going from a starter to something closer to a backup. Part of that has been out of Varlamov’s control with the emergence of Sorokin as one of the league’s better goalies, but 2021-22 did Varlamov no favors either.
Though his numbers were not objectively bad, it was a step back from the player he had been the two years prior. A rebound from Varlamov, especially one that forces the Islanders’ hand to take time from Sorokin and give it to the veteran will certainly boost his value on the open market. Turning 35 in the spring and still capable of taking a significant slate of games in net for a team, Varlamov will have plenty of interest on the open market, but securing the largest deal out of these five will require a performance more similar to what we saw in 2019-20 and 2020-21.
Considering these options, who is most likely to find the biggest contract on the open market? All are legitimate NHL goaltenders likely capable of holding their own net in 2023-24 and beyond, though none are considered stars. Andersen may be the closest to a star, however his recent injury struggles could make teams wary. If it’s durability a team is looking for, Varlamov might be a safer bet, but recent performance is trending in the opposite direction, albeit not enough to scare an organization off. Either way, 2022-23 will go a long way to understanding what this market becomes, but entering the new season, who sits in the best position?
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The Kings had two remaining restricted free agents to deal with but that has been cut to one as they announced the re-signing of defenseman Mikey Anderson to a one-year contract. The deal is worth $1MM.
The 23-year-old has quickly become an important part of the back end for Los Angeles over the last two seasons, logging over 20 minutes a night. Last season, he played in 57 games (missing the rest of them due to an upper-body injury and a brief stint in COVID protocol), collecting eight points while taking only four minor penalties. Anderson also took a regular turn on the penalty kill and led all Kings rearguards in hits. All in all, he has quickly become an unheralded top-four defender for them.
Anderson is coming off his entry-level deal with a required qualifying offer of $874,125 and didn’t have salary arbitration rights this summer. Between that, his limited offensive production, and their salary cap situation, that would have made a multi-year agreement hard to work out. By going this route, Los Angeles gets Anderson at a bargain rate which will help from a cap-management perspective. However, Anderson will qualify for salary arbitration next summer which will help pave the way for a bigger increase at that time. He’ll be owed a $1MM qualifying offer at that time.
GM Rob Blake will now turn his focus to their other unsigned blueliner in Sean Durzi. He’s in the same situation as Anderson was as he has completed his entry-level pact but didn’t qualify for arbitration eligibility this summer. The team has a little over $1.37MM in cap space to work with to get that contract done, per CapFriendly.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman was the first to report that Anderson was nearing a one-year agreement.
And then there were ten. After Cayden Primeau inked his deal yesterday, there are now ten restricted free agents who have not yet signed contracts for next season. These players must be signed by December 1, or they will not be eligible to play in the NHL at all.
Jason Robertson, the young Dallas Stars forward, leads the way as the most impressive name, though many others represent key players for their respective teams.
The Los Angeles Kings, for instance, have two young defensemen on the list who each showed last season that they could be big parts of the future. Michael Anderson and Sean Durzi were each key in the team’s playoff run, with the former averaging more than 20 minutes a night during the regular season.
Arizona’s Barrett Hayton is a bit of a headscratcher, given how much cap space the team has, but his development has been anything but normal to this point, so it fits the pattern. The 22-year-old forward has played in 94 games at the NHL level and just 35 in the minor leagues since he was selected fifth overall in 2018.
The full list is:
Los Angeles Kings
New York Islanders
Toronto Maple Leafs
Vegas Golden Knights
Several of these players are likely already signed, with teams only waiting to clear additional cap space before officially filing the deals. Others may end up missing part of training camp or even the regular season, as they try to work out the best contract for the present and the future.
- We recently covered how the San Jose Sharks would be hosting a tournament for prospects from six NHL teams. Today, each of those six teams (the Sharks, Kings, Ducks, Coyotes, Avalanche, and Golden Knights) announced their rosters for the camp. There are quite a few notable names to look forward to at that tournament, including first-round picks Quinton Byfield, Mason McTavish, William Eklund, Conor Geekie, Oskar Olausson, and Brendan Brisson, among others.