Kings defenseman Tobias Bjornfot was in the lineup tonight against Minnesota, his seventh game of the season. That alone doesn’t sound all that meaningful but that is the revised threshold for junior-aged players to officially burn the first year of their entry-level contract, meaning the 19-year-old is officially in the first year of his contract. Los Angeles opted to start Bjornfot in the minors this season, deferring the decision on his deal in the process but he has played a big role over his first six games – all wins – that basically forced their hand. The next threshold to watch for is 27 games, the number that accrues a season of service time towards UFA eligibility. That’s usually 40 games but has been prorated due to the shortened season.
More from the West:
- The Ducks are expected to have defenseman Hampus Lindholm back in the lineup on Saturday against Vegas, relays Elliott Teaford of the Orange County Register. The 27-year-old has missed the last three games due to a lower-body injury. While he won’t do much to bolster their scuffling offense that’s averaging less than two goals per game, Lindholm is a big part of their back end as he logs more than 22 minutes per night on the back end, second on the team to only Kevin Shattenkirk.
- With Pavel Francouz out long term and the Avalanche having no idea when he’ll be able to return from his lower-body injury, Mike Chambers of the Denver Post argues that Colorado needs to trade for a veteran backup. Philipp Grubauer has been excellent so far this season but while that certainly bodes well for his free agency case, the team also doesn’t want to overtax him knowing they have eyes on a long playoff run. A more experienced option to allow them to give Grubauer some more time off although with their cap situation, they’ll be forced to look for a low-priced veteran. Given how goaltending depth has been in high demand this season though, even that may be a task that’s easier said than done.