NHL teams can carry up to 23 players whose collective cap hits add up to under 69 million dollars, but it’s possible that the Kings won’t use the full roster allotment.
The subject was raised when Darryl Sutter was asked earlier today about Adam Cracknell. Cracknell, signed to a one-year, $600,000 contract on July 1, is part of a short list of players competing for spots on the fringes of the NHL roster. Should he not make the team, Cracknell would have to clear waivers before being assigned to Manchester.
There is also the case of Jeff Schultz, who currently stands as the Kings’ eighth defenseman (and who would also have to clear waivers). Though the two play different positions, they are linked together in their efforts to make the team.
Whether these players make the opening night roster is based heavily on whether the Kings decide to keep 14 forwards and seven defensemen, 13 forwards and eight defenseman, or whether they only keep 22 players (likely comprised of 13 forwards and seven defensemen) in addition to two goaltenders.
Though they would appear to have firmer footholds on roster spots, players such as Kyle Clifford, Trevor Lewis and Jordan Nolan would also be involved in such decisions, as would Brayden McNabb and Andy Andreoff. All would have to clear waivers – though trades would hypothetically be a more realistic transaction than waivers for the more veteran players – and there’s a decent chance many, if not all, would be claimed if they were offered. Again, this is a hypothetical scenario; none would appear to be on any sort of trading block.
Darryl Sutter, on whether Adam Cracknell is competing for a fourth line role:
Yep, that’s where he is. We have a good fourth line. It’s tough to crack. What Dean decides is what we carry. Do we go full roster and carry 14 and seven? Or do we go full roster and go 13 and 8? Or do we not go full roster? So it’s pretty much what he wants. At the end of the day, we’re not going to decide. The players are going to decide. I mean, if there are veterans that aren’t playing very well, they seal their own fate. We don’t. We want ‘em to play well, and they’ll get every opportunity, so you want it to be a really tough decision, business aside. It’s just a really tough decision, hockey-wise, and that’s the fair way, and that’s the right way.