Slava Voynov’s trial for a felony domestic violence charge has been postponed until July. On top of the legal proceedings – Voynov faces a maximum nine years in jail, if found guilty – the defenseman suffered a torn Achilles during recreational activity last month, which further clouds Kings personnel and financial decisions amidst the backdrop of a salary cap that may not rise past $69-million.
While acknowledging “I think it’s clear, either way, that the first step is the judicial system,” Dean Lombardi provided an update on Voynov, and how the findings of the court could impact the ancillary concern of how the Kings’ finances and roster decisions are affected.
“The tough part, again, for us is now we’re hearing the trial is July 6,” Lombardi said. “So we’re right back to where we were at the trade deadline. That’s the frustrating thing that you can’t plan. You want to know one way or another, and I get it during the year, but free agency is on July 1. How good is that? So it’s like, could we get it over here so we know if we can do some things here? The way this whole thing has gone this year, it’s emblematic of so many things that have happened this year. And then he gets his Achilles done, so you’ve got that. You’ve got an issue now with a major injury.”
Reinforcing that the surgery repaired “a major injury,” Lombardi said that “they’re shooting for the middle of training camp” for any theoretical return to hockey activities.
“If everything was normal around here with him, they’d probably be shooting for the middle of September, so arguably we could have him back from what they’re saying. That’s said, it’s like Pearson, right? We thought Pearson would be back sooner. So you don’t know for sure,” he said.
“This is a guy who played 23, 24 minutes during the playoffs. He’s a guy we signed long-term to a reasonable contract. He fits like a glove, with a right shot behind Doughty. But in terms of the [legal proceedings], it doesn’t make any sense to talk about what the league’s going to do until this other process plays out.”
Lombardi also revealed that Andrej Sekera suffered an MCL injury when a Chicago Blackhawk fell on him late in the second period of the teams’ game at the United Center on May 30. The MCL was not torn.
“It’s the one that’s just enough to keep him out,” Lombardi said. “I mean, he was in here working out right after, but he couldn’t play on it.”
Darryl Sutter noted after the 4-1 win over San Jose on Saturday that Sekera would have likely been out for the beginning of a first round playoff series, had the Kings qualified.