Los Angeles Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi was asked earlier today about the amnesty buyout clause, and whether it could be applied in the case of Willie Mitchell. Mitchell, 35, is signed through 2013-14 with a 3.5 million dollar cap hit and is sidelined for the remainder of the season due to a pair of surgeries on his knee, which was injured during the lockout.
Though the team is still awaiting more test results, Lombardi’s responses indicated that Mitchell’s injury appears to be more of a long-term ailment.
On whether the buyout clause would be considered with Willie Mitchell’s “situation”:
“Well, I think what we know now, and that’s the next thing we’ve got to zero in on – kind of just like you asked about the contracts, we’re kind of looking at it in like Willie went to see another doctor, we know. I’ve got to get all the information out. The one thing we do know is he’s done for the year, which was kind of always hanging out there. In terms of his career, that’s what I think we have to figure out now where he is health-wise in terms of his career. So once we have that, and I think we’re going to have the discussion this week with all the doctors and Willie and try and sort through this thing. The first issue is to see where we are in terms of him playing again. And then we can decide what to do. Obviously, if he’s going to come back, great. I’m not sure how viable that is based upon my preliminary stuff. But again, I’ll know more on that by the end of the week. [Reporter: Because he’s had the two surgeries now.] Yeah, and I think without going into detail, like I said, at least we got some finality that he’s not coming back this year. Now I’m getting some information – and I don’t like speaking to it because I don’t have it all, but I guess it’s safe to say there would be a legitimate concern now whether he plays next year. But that could be premature. Let’s just say now, though, it’s possible, where I wouldn’t have thought it possible. Like we always thought, ‘OK, if we don’t get him this year, this isn’t serious for us.’ But apparently some other things might have shown up. But until I get the whole story, I probably should hold off.”