Updates on the possible offseason plans of the Los Angeles Kings and Dallas Stars.
Updates on the Kings.
MAYOR’S MANOR: John Hoven reports nearly every possible solution to fix the Los Angeles Kings is on the table. “Outside of six names – Jeff Carter, Drew Doughty, Anze Kopitar, Tanner Pearson, Jonathan Quick, and Tyler Toffoli – just about every other contract is being looked at.” The Kings have limited cap space next summer. Compounding their problem is the salary cap could come in around $70.5 million for next season. While captain Dustin Brown isn’t being shopped, the right offer could spark further discussions. Brown’s limited no-trade clause kicks in on July 1. The club still hopes to trade Mike Richards between now and the NHL Draft in late-June. They could offer compensation (a draft pick, prospect, picking up part of his salary, or any combination of these) as enticement. Failing that, they could buy out the remainder of his contract.
Pending UFAs Justin Williams and Jarret Stoll aren’t expected back. A three-year bridge deal “is the current thinking” for RFA Toffoli. Backup Martin Jones wants an opportunity to prove himself as a starting goalie. Jones isn’t expected to be traded but he could seek assurances of being moved next summer. Management wants to re-sign defenseman Andrej Sekera and he wants to stay, but he could prove too expensive. As for Slava Voynov, his future depends upon the outcome of his domestic violence case, which remains before the courts.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I usually don’t cite blogs as a source for rumors but Hoven is well connected with the Kings’ organization and has become a reliable source for Kings’ trade and free agent info. While talk of trading Brown is intriguing, he’s got seven more seasons at an annual cap hit of $5.75 million left on his contract. Unless the Kings are picking up a big chunk of that, I don’t see him being dealt this summer. For the Kings to move the fading Richards, I believe they’ll have to take back an equally toxic contract in return. So it’s likely buyout city for him. They won’t move Jones until they’ve got a quality replacement in hand. Unless the Kings shed significant salary, I don’t see how they can afford to re-sign Sekera. As Hoven notes, he could get $5 million per season via free agency.
Latest Stars speculation.
THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: In a recent live chat with his readers, Tim Cowlishaw replied he believes the Stars need defensive help. He notes there’s “lots of names” available via free agency, including Anaheim’s Francois Beauchemin and St. Louis’ Barret Jackman. He also wondered if Stars coach (and former Buffalo Sabres bench boss) Lindy Ruff likes Sabres rearguard Andrej Meszaros. Mike Heika reports Stars backup Jhonas Enroth seems to want to test this summer’s UFA market and management is fine with that.
The paper also cited TSN’s Scott Cullen’s recent speculation over the Stars’ offseason plans. Cullen suggests a veteran scoring winger like Winnipeg’s Michal Frolik or Drew Stafford, Los Angeles’ Justin Williams, Anaheim’s Matt Beleskey or Washington’s Joel Ward as options. A trade for a backup goalie like Toronto’s James Reimer, Vancouver’s Jacob Markstrom or Ottawa’s Robin Lehner could be necessary. “Cullen mentions Ales Hemsky, Jordie Benn and Jamie Oleksiak as on possibilities to hit the trade market.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: After reaching the 2014 playoffs and the excitement of adding Jason Spezza to the lineup last summer, the Stars experienced a disappointing stumble this season. As Cullen notes, they lack scoring depth beyond their first line and must bolster their goaltending and blueline. That being said, I don’t believe they’ll blow their budget making expensive free-agent signings. That’s not to say they won’t look at what’s available in the UFA market, but I don’t see them overpaying for help. I like the idea of trading for a backup. They have a recent trade history with the Senators so perhaps they make a pitch for Lehner. As for trade candidates, good luck moving the fading Ales Hemsky and his $4 million cap hit. I doubt Ruff has any interest in Meszaros, who joined the Sabres after he left.