- The near-daily roster shuffling in Los Angeles continues as the Kings announced (Twitter link) that they’ve assigned defenseman Jordan Spence and center Jaret Anderson-Dolan to AHL Ontario. The moves get them out of LTIR for a day, allowing them to bank a tiny amount of cap space which will be useful when Viktor Arvidsson is cleared to return. Los Angeles is back in action Saturday against Philadelphia and both players will almost certainly be back on the roster at that time.
Navigating the salary cap is one of the more important tasks for any GM. Teams that can avoid total cap chaos by walking the tightrope of inking players to deals that match their value (or compensate for future value without breaking the bank) remain successful. Those that don’t see struggles and front office changes.
PHR will look at every NHL team and give a thorough look at their cap situation for the 2023-24 season. This will focus more on players who are regulars on the roster versus those who may find themselves shuttling between the AHL and NHL. All cap figures are courtesy of CapFriendly.
Los Angeles Kings
Current Cap Hit: $84,937,314 (over the $83.5MM Upper Limit)
Byfield took a small step forward last season and has looked a bit better in the early going this year. However, he’s a lock for a bridge contract. Barring a major uptick in production, that deal might be capped around the $2.25MM mark while his ‘A’ bonuses are going to be tough to reach. Kaliyev, meanwhile, is a bit more established as a secondary scorer. If he can get closer to the 20-goal and 40-point mark this season, he could push his bridge cost a bit higher than Byfield’s while hitting his lone ‘A’ bonus. Laferriere is just starting off his NHL career so it’s a bit early to project his next deal but if he can stay on the third line, he should push past the $1MM mark at least.
Spence has been a strong point producer in the minors but isn’t quite ready to play a big role just yet. That will limit his earnings upside to the point where a one-year bridge contract around what he’s making now might be what happens. His bonuses are tied to games played with multiple thresholds so while he might not max out, he should reach some of that total if he stays healthy.
Signed Through 2023-24, Non-Entry-Level
F Jaret Anderson-Dolan ($775K, RFA)
F Viktor Arvidsson ($4.25MM, UFA)
G Pheonix Copley ($1.5MM, UFA)
F Carl Grundstrom ($1.3MM, RFA)
F Trevor Lewis ($775K, UFA)
F Blake Lizotte ($1.675MM, RFA)
D Matt Roy ($3.15MM, UFA)
G Cam Talbot ($1MM, UFA)
Arvidsson has certainly improved his value since being acquired in 2021 from Nashville, putting up two of his better offensive years including reaching the 20-goal mark each time. Free agency hasn’t been kind to wingers lately but assuming he’s able to come back from the lower-body injury that has him on LTIR, he should be able to get a small raise on this on a multi-year deal. Lizotte has shown slow and steady improvement over his first few seasons despite having relatively limited playing time; this season looks to be a continuation in the early going. If that happens, he could have a case to push past the $2MM mark with arbitration rights. However, if the Kings are only comfortable playing him 10-12 minutes a night, he could become a non-tender candidate if they want to fill that lineup spot with someone cheaper even at the expense of some production.
Grundstrom has become a fourth-line regular for Los Angeles and chipped in with a dozen goals last season. Still, with the Kings largely capped out, they may be hard-pressed to afford to give him much more if this is the role he’s going to remain in. A small raise is doable but a non-tender could be possible as well. Lewis is a serviceable fourth liner which has kept him in the NHL for 16 seasons now. If there is going to be a 17th, it’ll be at or close to the minimum again. Anderson-Dolan is the extra skater at this point so it’s hard to see him commanding more than the league minimum either. With nearly 100 NHL games under his belt already, he’s a bit of an arbitration risk for the Kings (who wouldn’t want to go higher than $775K) so barring him locking down a regular role, they might opt to non-tender him as well.
Roy is one of the more intriguing defensemen entering the final year of his deal. He seemingly has largely flown under the radar with Los Angeles but he has put up back-to-back career years offensively despite not seeing a ton of power play time. Defensively, he logs heavy minutes on the penalty kill, allowing him to hover around 20 minutes a night on average most years. He turns 29 in March so he’s young enough that he should still have several good seasons ahead of him. Add those elements to the fact that Roy is a right-hand shot and you have a combination that should earn him a nice raise on the open market. A jump to around the $4.5MM mark could be doable for him although it’d be surprising if that came with the Kings who might be inclined to give his spot to prospect Brandt Clarke next season.
Talbot came over after an injury-plagued year with Ottawa. He hasn’t been a true starter for a while but they’re basically counting on him to be one. His bonuses are easy to achieve (payable at 10 games played) and the bulk of that will be charged against the cap next year. If Talbot can get back to his form from a few years ago, he could get back closer to the $3MM mark next summer. Copley is in his first full season as the backup after an early-season recall turned into a career year last season. The early results aren’t good this year, however. If he’s able to turn things around, a small raise could be doable but his longer-term track record of being a third-stringer will work against him in free agency.
Signed Through 2024-25
Gavrikov impressed after being acquired from the Blue Jackets at the trade deadline last season along with Joonas Korpisalo. They only had room to keep one of the two and opted for the blueliner. Expecting a jump in the cap in the near future, the 27-year-old decided to take a short-term deal this time around in the hopes of landing a more lucrative long-term pact in 2025. As things stand, he might be able to get a small raise but not much more than that.
Englund worked his way back up to the NHL last season, splitting the year in a depth role between Colorado and Chicago. He should be in a similar role this year and a $1MM price tag for a sixth or seventh defender is a reasonable cost. Bjornfot’s deal is one-way in both seasons as he opted to take some guaranteed money in exchange for taking less than his qualifying offer. Playing time at the top level has been hard to come by for the 2019 first-rounder and he’ll need to establish himself as a regular to get any sort of meaningful increase two years from now.
Signed Through 2025-26
It was widely expected that the Kings would work out an extension for their captain at some point and they wasted little time doing so. Kopitar isn’t a top-end scorer but has been close to the point-per-game mark the last few seasons while being a high-quality defensive center. $10MM is a bit on the high side but on his next contract, he could provide some value on that deal, even when they start to manage his minutes. Kempe has gone from a secondary producer to a go-to scorer over the last two seasons, notching 76 goals combined over the past two years. As a result, his contract will be a nice bargain if he’s able to keep scoring at that rate. He’ll be 30 in 2026 and if he remains a 30-plus-goal scorer, a decent-sized raise on a long-term deal could be on the horizon.
10/26/23: Both players have now been recalled from the AHL roster, according to a team announcement from the Kings.
10/25/23: The Los Angeles Kings sent down forward Jaret Anderson-Dolan and defenseman Jordan Spence to AHL Ontario Wednesday, the team announced. Anderson-Dolan was brought up Monday for last night’s win against the Coyotes, while Spence had been on the NHL roster since an October 13 recall.
In fact, this is already the fourth time Anderson-Dolan has been assigned to Ontario just a few weeks into the season. After clearing waivers and not making the opening night roster, Anderson-Dolan was brought up along with Spence on October 13 and remained on the roster for a week before he was returned to the minors. He’s been papered up and down twice in the last five days.
Despite all the transactions, Anderson-Dolan has played just one game this season at either the NHL or AHL level – an October 14 shootout loss against the Hurricanes in which he played just 6:51. The Kings no longer lack salary cap space with Viktor Arvidsson on LTIR for the time being, so there’s no express necessity for Anderson-Dolan to get sent up and down other than extending the eligibility period for his waiver exemption. After clearing pre-season, he can be on the NHL roster for 30 days (or play ten NHL games) until he needs waivers to return to Ontario again. Sending him down on off days extends that clock and allows the Kings to keep him as a 13th forward for game days. The 24-year-old was a second-round pick of the Kings in the 2017 NHL Draft but has seen limited NHL action despite strong AHL production, notching 24 points in 97 NHL games since turning pro in 2019.
Spence, meanwhile, heads to Ontario with the Kings out of action until Friday. In five games this season, the 22-year-old has registered an assist but is averaging just 14:15 per game. His possession numbers have nosedived in a brief sample, posting a Corsi share of just 46.2% at even strength this season despite a career average of 56.2%. If the Kings don’t bring him back up for Friday’s rematch against the Coyotes, Tobias Bjornfot will draw into the lineup after serving as a healthy scratch for five of six games to start the year.
The transaction leaves Los Angeles with a bare minimum of 18 skaters and two goalies on the NHL roster.
Saturday: The Kings have brought both Anderson-Dolan and Laferriere back up to Los Angeles. By sending them down yesterday, they were able to get out of using LTIR for the day, allowing them to bank a bit of much-needed cap space.
Friday: After yesterday’s commanding win against the Minnesota Wild, the Los Angeles Kings have announced they have sent down forwards Jaret Anderson-Dolan and Alex Laferriere to their AHL affiliate, the Ontario Reign.
Of the two, Anderson-Dolan has struggled to garner ice time the most, only suiting up for the team’s loss at the hands of the Carolina Hurricanes last week, receiving just under seven minutes of ice time. He is no stranger to the Ontario Reign, having primarily played there since joining the Kings organization back in the 2017-18 season. In 112 games played at the AHL level, Anderson-Dolan has scored 32 goals and 45 assists, as well as chipping in one assist in eight playoff games.
Laferriere, on the other hand, is much newer to Los Angeles after having officially joined the Kings organization in April last year out of Harvard University. Laferriere was originally a third-round selection of Los Angeles back in the 2020 NHL Draft, and impressed mightily this preseason, scoring three goals and one assist in five games. Unfortunately, his hot start in the preseason did not carry into the regular season, as Laferriere has gone scoreless in his first four games, even after averaging 15 minutes of ice time and putting 13 shots on net.
In an even newer AHL season, the Ontario Reign could certainly use some reinforcements on both sides of the puck. In their first two games to start the season, the team has lost both, being outscored by a margin of five goals. Undoubtedly receiving plenty of ice time in the minors, Anderson-Dolan and Laferriere will both be put in positions to help the team correct their poor start to the season.
- Things are not looking up for Los Angeles Kings forward Viktor Arvidsson, who remains on LTIR after missing the first two games of the season with a back injury. It seems this could turn into an even more significant absence, as GM Rob Blake told NHL.com yesterday that Arvidsson “may have to have surgery,” which would put him out on a month-to-month basis and extend his stay on LTIR well past the minimum ten games and 24 days. If he doesn’t have surgery, he will be eligible to return for the team’s November 4 game against Philadelphia. Blake said Arvidsson sustained the injury during practice on the first day of the regular season, and subsequent diagnosis revealed surgery may be an option.
Oct 13, 3:10 p.m.: The Kings reversed the AHL swaps today, per CapFriendly’s transactions log. Kaliyev is back up on the active roster to serve the final game of his suspension tomorrow, while Laferriere is also joined by Jaret Anderson-Dolan and Jordan Spence, who were brought up with the cap space afforded by Arvidsson’s LTIR placement. This move affords the Kings an extra skater on the roster for the time being, a number that will increase to two when Kaliyev is eligible to play.
Oct 12, 2:33 p.m.: The Los Angeles Kings have placed winger Viktor Arvidsson on long-term injured reserve. This will require him to miss at least 10 games or 24 days of action. The Kings have coupled this with a pair of AHL swaps – sending Arthur Kaliyev and Alex Laferriere to the AHL and recalling Alex Turcotte and Brandt Clarke.
Arvidsson, 30, originally suffered this lower-body injury at a team practice and was originally listed as day-to-day. He now finds himself on LTIR and will miss the rest of October. This is a major blow for a player who was slowly working his way back from bouts with the injury bug. Arvidsson played in 77 games last season, the most he’s played in one year since the 2017-18 season. He tallied 26 goals and 59 points in those games, ranking third on the team in goals and fourth in points.
The Kings now turn towards a pair of rookie talents in Turcotte and Clarke – two high-end prospects that have yet to find their way into consistent NHL playing time. Turcotte has seen 12 career NHL games over the last two seasons but has yet to record a point. This is contrary to the scoring he’s managed in the AHL, where he’s tallied 35 points through 59 games since 2021-22. Brandt Clarke appeared in nine games for the Kings last year, netting two points and recording six penalty minutes. This was an exciting cap to a journeyman season for Clarke; a year that saw him play in the OHL, AHL, and NHL. Both players are former top-10 draftees (Turcotte #5 in 2019, Clarke #8 in 2021) and will look to prove their worth as new members of the 2023-24 Kings roster.
By recalling Turcotte and Clarke prior to placing Arvidsson on LTIR, the Kings made enough cap space to afford the duo’s performance bonuses. They can send the pair down, and recall Kaliyev and Laferriere, prior to their Saturday game with Carolina if they would like.
- The Los Angeles Kings have sent Alex Turcotte and Brandt Clarke to the AHL and recalled Jaret Anderson-Dolan, Arthur Kaliyev, Alex Laferriere, and Jordan Spence. The Kings previously swapped Turcotte and Clarke for Kaliyev and Laferriere, in an effort to make cap space for Turcotte and Clarke’s performance bonuses. Along with this news, Spence has shared that he will be changing his number from 53 to 21.
- Earlier this month, the Kings wrapped up a one-year extension with head coach Todd McLellan. He won’t be the only member of the coaching staff on an expiring deal next season as GM Rob Blake told reporters including LA Kings Insider’s Zach Dooley that all of their coaches are now under contract through the 2024-25 campaign.
1:46 p.m.: Kings head coach Todd McLellan informed reporters that Arvidsson’s timeline for return is “a bit longer than day-to-day” (via The Athletic’s Eric Stephens). Hence, an emergency recall to give the Kings a 12th forward for Saturday’s game is likely.
1:37 p.m.: Los Angeles Kings forward Viktor Arvidsson will miss tonight’s season opener against the Colorado Avalanche with a lower-body injury, team editorial content manager Zach Dooley relays. The Kings are expected to play down a forward and only dress 17 skaters due to cap constraints.
The team recalled forward Arthur Kaliyev from AHL Ontario today and assigned goaltender David Rittich there after clearing waivers. However, Kaliyev will miss the first two games of the season due to a four-game suspension doled out during preseason play for kneeing Anaheim Ducks forward Chase De Leo. Los Angeles does not have the cap space to recall an additional forward to replace Arvidsson.
Slotting in for the suspended Kaliyev, however, will be 21-year-old winger Alex Laferriere. The 83rd overall selection in the 2020 NHL Draft is expected to make his NHL debut on a line with Pierre-Luc Dubois and Kevin Fiala.
Playing short a forward creates the option of a $0 emergency recall for the Kings to execute before their second game of the season, which is Saturday against the Carolina Hurricanes. Of course, that would be unnecessary if Arvidsson is ready to return. He’s listed as day-to-day and has not been ruled out for that contest. Arvidsson, 30, enjoyed quite a strong campaign with the Kings last season, recording 26 goals and 59 points in 77 games. He is entering the final season of a seven-year, $29.75MM contract initially signed with the Nashville Predators in 2017 and is slated for unrestricted free agency in the summer.
Oct. 11, 1:03 p.m.: All three players have cleared waivers, per Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.
Oct. 10, 1:45 p.m.: Although not as busy as the past few days, there’s still some activity on the waiver wire today. The lone player on waivers yesterday, New York Islanders forward Ross Johnston, was claimed today by the Anaheim Ducks.
Los Angeles Kings
Tampa Bay Lightning
Toronto Maple Leafs
The most notable name here is Rittich, a 31-year-old Czech netminder who has 172 games of NHL experience. Though the number of clubs rostering three goalies to start the season might point to a heightened risk of goaltenders getting claimed off of waivers, the fact that Martin Jones, who played in 48 games last season, cleared waivers does bode well for the Kings’ likelihood of passing Rittich through.
Rittich is playing on a one-year, $875k contract and is set to be the Kings’ third goalie behind Pheonix Copley and Cam Talbot. Last season, Rittich was Connor Hellebuyck’s backup and went 9-8-1 with a .901 save percentage and 2.67 goals against average.
Gone are the days when Rittich was a borderline starter-level netminder as he was with the Calgary Flames, and although public expected goals models were down on his work last season, there could be NHL teams in need of goalies who believe he still has something to offer at the game’s highest level.
Barré-Boulet, 26, is an undersized, undrafted former QMJHL star who has become a top player in the AHL for the Syracuse Crunch. He made the AHL’s First All-Star team last season after scoring 84 points last season, by far a team lead, but so far hasn’t been able to translate that success to the NHL level.
The final player on the waiver wire today is McMann, an undrafted forward from the Maple Leafs. The Colgate University product worked his way up from the ECHL to the NHL and was impressive at the AHL level last season, scoring 21 goals in just 30 games.
The energetic winger isn’t exactly the prototypical player that gets claimed off of waivers but perhaps there is a team is intrigued enough by his minor-league goal-scoring and endearing style to put in a claim.