Thursday, July 10, 2008

Kings don't fear the floor

Salary cap update: It's a tossup which team is in the worst position vis-a-vis the salary cap in the NHL, the Los Angeles Kings or the Anaheim Ducks.

The Kings are $12 million below the $40-million floor and they have been non-players in the free-agent market. They do have some restricted free agents like Jarret Stoll and Patrick O'Sullivan to sign, but they might be forced to overpay just to meet the minimum.
For a team looking to save a few bucks while the kids play and the team rebuilds, the Kings are in a beautiful position under the cap.

Let's say GM Dean Lombardi truly goes for a youth movement and doesn't sign a single unrestricted free agent: Where would a 23-man roster of mainly prospects put them in relation to the cap?

With roughly $30-million already committed, you can pencil in figures for a handful of restricted free agents: veterans Stoll ($2-million) and Brad Richardson ($800,000), and prospects Matt Moulson, Peter Harrold, Erik Ersberg and Gabe Gauthier (~$750,000).

Recently drafted defencemen Tomas Hickey and Drew Doughty will also need contracts should they make the team.

In fact, considering the Kings have one of the deepest collections of prospects in the league, it wouldn't be a problem promoting from within. Five players 24-and-under had near point-a-game seasons in Manchester (AHL) last season and could all make the jump.

A projected lineup, barring future signings:

Brown - Kopitar - O'Sullivan
Frolov - Stoll - Purcell
Calder - Handzus - Richardson
Moulson - Boyle - Zeiler
Armstrong

Johnson - Greene
D. Gauthier - Preissing
Harrold - Doughty

Labarbera
Bernier

A blueline to strike fear into its opposition, no doubt.

The price tag for that underfunded bunch? About $38-million, or a little less than $3-million under the salary floor.

All 30 NHL teams, as per the CBA, have to be at the $40.7-minimum by the opening of the regular season, but I can't see that being a problem here. Lombardi already added Denis Gauthier from the Flyers and his $2.1-million salary, and there are plenty of gaudy cap hits around the league that could be acquired to bump the figure up.

More likely, however, Los Angeles will add a veteran defender to help their green crew, a player that will put them up to the salary floor.

It's a non-issue. Besides, if this team can put together a surprising year under a new coach and make some gains, they'll have zillions to spend in 2009-10.



This season's going to be difficult for the Kings, but going forward there's room for optimism. There are some gems in the prospect pool:
  1. Teddy Purcell, 22, a gangly Newfoundlander who put up 83 points in 67 games in the AHL last season

  2. Brian Boyle, 23, a huge, huge centre who put up solid numbers in his first pro season. I've been keeping my eye on him for years, and he could be the biggest, strongest forward in the NHL in the future if they don't convert him to a blueliner

  3. Peter Harrold, 25, is a puck-moving defender with skill who saw 25 games in the NHL last season

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20 Comments:

At 3:46 AM, July 10, 2008, Blogger Connie said...

Thanks for that analysis, James. But seeing Zeiler's name above Armstrong's name honestly scares me.

 
At 8:44 AM, July 10, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

James, what are the consequences if a team fails to meet the cap?

 
At 10:37 AM, July 10, 2008, Blogger Marchantfan said...

I believe under the CBA they forfeit their games.

 
At 10:40 AM, July 10, 2008, Anonymous Gerald said...

More likely, however, Los Angeles will add a veteran defender to help their green crew, a player that will put them up to the salary floor.

Bryan McCabe or Pavel Kubina, perhaps?

 
At 11:12 AM, July 10, 2008, Blogger k.m.stiles said...

I'm hoping for either Kaberle or Wallin through a trade. I really hope Zeiler stays in Manchester...unless he actually learned how to do something other than check players.

 
At 11:34 AM, July 10, 2008, Blogger Adam C said...

The advantages of McCabe would be that he wouldn't cost much, plus his cap hit ('floor bonus') is about to become larger than his actual salary...

 
At 11:47 AM, July 10, 2008, Blogger Brian said...

McCabe would never go to the left coast...I think it's one on the NY area teams or bust...or the pathetic Leafs are stuck with him.

 
At 11:48 AM, July 10, 2008, Blogger The Falconer said...

I seem to recall reading somewhere that any team finishing under the cap has to write a check to make up the difference.

There must be an enforcement provision in the CBA. Would the fine go to the NHLPA or the NHL?

 
At 12:22 PM, July 10, 2008, Blogger Pooch said...

Sydor to the Kings for a bag of pucks, please.

 
At 1:10 PM, July 10, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If a team forfeits their games when under the minimum salary cap, could a team like L.A. forfeit their games to increase their chances of landing Taverez?

 
At 1:16 PM, July 10, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

This whole post was about how the Kings will have no problem reaching the floor people!

Oh well...

 
At 1:23 PM, July 10, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

With that lineup, in that division? No more than 20 wins. Average attendance <10,000.
Not sure why we still pretend there should be hockey in L.A. And I include the Kings AND the Ducks in that equation.

 
At 1:36 PM, July 10, 2008, Blogger Earl Sleek said...

Not sure why we still pretend there should be hockey in L.A. And I include the Kings AND the Ducks in that equation.

Kevin Lowe?

Hey, there's an easy solution that BoC is promoting: Schneider for Tukonen!

As a bonus, Anonymous wouldn't even have to pay attention to our make-believe hockey in CA.

 
At 2:14 PM, July 10, 2008, Anonymous Rod said...

Yeah Earl, I'm sure the Kings will be lining up to pay a player *more* than his cap hit.

If they need to get up to the floor via trade, the Kings are more likely to go looking for someone like Roloson--a player in the final year of his contract with a salary that's smaller than the cap hit.

 
At 2:40 PM, July 10, 2008, Blogger Earl Sleek said...

Yeah Earl, I'm sure the Kings will be lining up to pay a player *more* than his cap hit.

I suppose, but it's not a huge difference and by that point, I'd expect cap hit to hardly matter at all.

Schneider's a capable leader also on the last year on his deal, and from the looks of things the Kings have bigger holes on their blueline than in net.

I'd been suggesting it, but Rudy really took to the idea. It's not as unattractive from a Kings perspective as you might want to believe.

 
At 2:41 PM, July 10, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As well as fine, I think they forfeit their 1st rounder

 
At 2:50 PM, July 10, 2008, Blogger saskhab said...

James, does that $38m total you have there include the full, maximum bonus package that Doughty could receive?

I guess we'll see if Bernier can make the jump. If they go with Ersberg instead, that's more money they have to find.

 
At 4:44 PM, July 10, 2008, Blogger RudyKelly said...

The Kings won't go after Roloson because he sucks and they don't need a goaltender. They need a defenseman, one who can play on the power play and is a left-handed shot.

 
At 1:32 AM, July 11, 2008, Anonymous Rod said...

Relax there rudykelly. Guess I wasn't clear earlier. I was not saying the Kings were about to obtain Roloson (as much as I might like it as an Oiler fan). I was merely pointing out the Kings would prefer to get a guy with a bigger cap hit than actual salary (getting to the cap floor without actually paying out the cap amount). Roloson is an example of such a player.

Then again, getting Roloson isn't completely out of the question, so I can understand how my previous post was interpreted that way.

Cheers.

 
At 2:59 AM, July 11, 2008, Anonymous beingbobbyorr said...

Brian Boyle, . . . . strongest forward in the NHL in the future if they don't convert him to a blueliner

No worries. The Boyle-as-Defenseman experiment is over.

 

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