The Los Angeles Kings have locked up the last of their restricted free agents. The Kings have announced a new contract extension for defenseman Alex Lintuniemi, their last unsigned RFA. It is a one-year, two-way contract for the young Finnish rearguard that carries a minimum $650K cap hit at the NHL level.
Lintuniemi, 22, has made great strides in each of his pro seasons. The 2014 second-round pick was drafted for his size, strength, and potential but was still a very raw prospect when he turned pro in 2015. He spent his entire first full season in the Kings’ system developing at the ECHL level, before becoming a part-time player in the AHL in 2016-17. This past season was easily his best, as he became a dependable, every-day player for the AHL’s Ontario Reign and recorded a career-high four goals and 24 points.
Lintuniemi still has some work to do on his game and will likely never be much of an offensive threat in the NHL, but is taking steps toward becoming a solid defensive player. While the Kings run seven or eight deep on the blue line with true NHL-caliber players, don’t be surprised to see Lintuniemi get his first look at the top level some time in the upcoming season.