Just got off the phone with Jeff Solomon, the Kings’ vice president of hockey operations and legal affairs — informally known as the CBA guru — who helped clarify the situation the Kings are in, in terms of assigning players to Manchester.
Essentially, on Friday at 9 p.m. Pacific, if no new labor deal has been reached, players will be locked out from the NHL. So, prior to that time, if teams want any of their players to be part of an AHL roster, they must be “loaned” to the AHL team (in the Kings’ case, the Manchester Monarchs). In terms of players who were with the Kings last season, three players — Andrei Loktionov, Jordan Nolan and Slava Voynov — can be assigned and recalled at will, without any exposure to waivers. Eight other players — Andrew Bodnarchuk, Andrew Campbell, Marc-Andre Cliche, Rich Clune, Thomas Hickey, Stefan Legein, David Meckler and Jake Muzzin — must pass through waivers in order to be loaned to Manchester. None of those players, according to Solomon, are subject to re-entry waivers, so the Kings would not be at risk of losing them once the lockout ended. They would, however, risk losing them in the next couple days, if they chose to try to loan them to Manchester. So, that’s the decision.
In a way, not much changes. Even in a normal training camp, if any of those eight players didn’t make the Kings’ opening-night roster, they would have to go through waivers. At least six of them were almost certainly headed to Manchester anyway, so they would have had to clear waivers at some point. The only difference is, the Kings have to make that choice now, rather than seeing them in training camp for a couple weeks. What if, for instance, the Kings tried to get Muzzin through waivers now, he got claimed, and then the lockout got resolved on Monday? The Kings would have lost a player for essentially no reason. In any event, the Kings don’t have much time to figure out which players they want to loan to Manchester in the event of a lockout.
In other news, the Kings signed 18-year-old defenseman Kurtis MacDermid to a standard three-year, entry-level contract. MacDermid participated in the Kings’ development camp in July. MacDermid will be headed back to the Owen Sound Attack of the Ontario Hockey League. That much, at least, is certain right now.