Updates: Richards, Las Vegas, Norstrom, Gravel, more - LA Kings Insider

I discussed several of these topics during my appearance on All the Kings Men Podcast yesterday afternoon, but if you weren’t able to listen, the conversation continues here with its own “updates” post.

-MIKE RICHARDS. I’m reading about the speculation of what type of incentive it would take to swap out Richards (and his contract) for crucially needed cap space. In the comments section of this blog and elsewhere, I’ve read hypotheticals of whether the Kings would trade their first round draft pick or one of their well-regarded prospects to be able to entice a team to pick up his contract. As has been stated in the past, this discussion is moot; I’m getting the strong feeling, through multiple channels, that there hasn’t been any clear movement, and no viable suitors have stepped forward at this time. Similar to the attempt to move the center near the trading deadline, there are simply no proposals that make any sense for the Kings as of this writing. Could that change? Sure, it could change. But don’t expect Richards back next year. He’s likely to be moved, either through a trade (which doesn’t appear to be materializing at this point), or via buy-out. Courtesy of War-on-Ice’s new financial tools, should the Kings choose to buy out Richards, this is what he’d count (rounded to the second decimal place) against Los Angeles’ cap:

2015-16: 1.22M
2016-17: 1.72M
2017-18: 2.72M
2018-19: 4.22M
2019-20: 4.22M
2020-21: 1.47M
2021-22: 1.47M
2022-23: 1.47M
2023-24: 1.47M
2024-25: 1.47M

He’d still collect an actual $1.47M per season from the Kings through 2024-25, should they choose to buy out his contract. Tough decisions lie ahead for Los Angeles, and even though Richards has been paid handsomely in his career and has won two Stanley Cups, a Calder Cup, an Olympic gold medal and a World Juniors gold medal, one can only imagine how this difficult episode has affected the ultracompetitive and popular team-first player.

-FROZEN FURY. Let’s not get too concerned here, but the future of Frozen Fury beyond the fall of 2016 is very much in doubt. All signs point to the NHL expanding (or relocating) to Las Vegas – from one source, the league is not yet ready to announce anything at this point, though we’ll likely get an update following Gary Bettman’s media availability at the NHL Awards next week – and the Kings would not be able to host exhibition games in the market of a rival NHL team. Also, a new arena owned and operated in a joint venture between AEG and MGM Resorts International is under construction on the Las Vegas Strip and scheduled to open in 2016. Prior to the 2013-14 season, the Kings extended their Frozen Fury contract with MGM Grand through the 2016 preseason. Mostly unrelated, but of note: LA Kings Insider will be on hand at both the NHL Awards in Las Vegas and the NHL Draft in Sunrise, Fla. to provide regular and exclusive content.

-MATTIAS NORSTROM. Though LA Kings Insider reported in March that Norstrom “could join the club’s front office as an extension of the development staff,” those discussions did not result in an agreement for the upcoming season. Norstrom holds an executive position with SHL club AIK, and has also helped insure Swedish athletes while serving as a television hockey analyst in his hometown of Stockholm. I’m told there’s still the possibility Norstrom and the Kings could come to an agreement in the future, even if the position the Kings and their former captain hoped to craft together “didn’t quite fit” for this upcoming season. Let’s revisit this story nine months from now.

-KEVIN GRAVEL. As reported by LA Kings Insider on Twitter two days ago (with a stick tap to Paul Bissonnette and those who forwarded a heads up), defensive prospect Kevin Gravel has agreed to a two-year entry-level contract with the Kings that is expected to carry a maximum, $925K cap hit (the paperwork can’t officially be filed until July 1). Gravel, a 2010 fifth round draft pick, was on an AHL contract in 2014-15, his first full professional season after spending four years at St. Cloud State. According to hockey operations, the tall, defensive-minded defenseman showed significant improvement in Manchester this season and will compete for a spot on the Kings at training camp (though in almost all certainty will open the season as a minutes eater on AHL-Ontario’s blue line).

-THE SCHEDULE. It will be released Thursday morning. A reminder: The NHL schedule is not balanced. The Kings will play five games against five Pacific Division teams and four games against one Pacific Division team. Since divisional realignment, the Kings have played the Oilers (2013-14) and Coyotes (2014-15) only four times, so expect Los Angeles to play one fewer game against Anaheim, Calgary, Vancouver or San Jose. Also, because Western Conference teams play in-conference, out-of-division teams three times, whether teams play particular opponents at home twice or on the road twice varies from year to year. Based on the last two years, expect two home games against Colorado, Dallas and Minnesota, and two road games against Chicago, Nashville, St. Louis and Winnipeg.

Jake Muzzin

#6 | 6′ 3″ | 216 lb | Age: 27

Born: Feb 21, 1989
Birthplace: Woodstock, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Left

Bio

Muzzin was drafted in 2007 by the Pittsburgh Penguins, before signing to the Kings in 2010. He has since become the first Woodstock, Ontario professional athlete to win a major sports trophy.
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Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

Born: August 24, 1987
Birthplace: Jesenice, SVN
Position: C
Handedness: Left

Bio

As the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Kopitar became the first Slovenian to play in the NHL. Kopitar has spent his entire NHL career with the Kings, and following the 2015–16 season, was named the Kings’ captain. Noted for both his offensive and defensive play, Kopitar was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL in 2016.

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Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

Born: December 8, 1989
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Right

Bio

Bio: Doughty is a Canadian defenceman who was selected second overall by the Kings in the 2008 Draft. Doughty made his NHL debut in 2008 as an 18-year-old and was named to the All-Rookie Team. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Kings, a two-time Olympic gold medallist with the Canadian national team, and a Norris Trophy finalist.

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Tyler Toffoli

#73 | 6′ 1″ | 200 lb | Age: 24

Born: April 24, 1992
Birthplace: Scarborough, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right

Bio

Toffoli is a Canadian professional ice hockey forward, drafted by the Kings in the second round of the 2010 Draft. Toffoli scored his first career NHL goal in his second game in a 4–0 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes in 2013. He was also named the 2012–13 AHL All-Rookie Team.
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Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

Born: January 1, 1985
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right

Bio

Carter began his hockey career playing in the Ontario Hockey League in Canada before joining the AHL and playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was then traded to the Colombus Blue jackets before joining the LA Kings in 2012, where he has since won two Stanley Cups with the Kings.

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Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

Born: January 21, 1986
Birthplace: Milford, CT, USA
Position: G
Handedness: Left

Bio

Bio: Quick is the current goaltender for the LA Kings and was selected by Los Angeles at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Previously, Quick was a silver medalist with USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He’s won two Stanley Cup championships with the Kings, along with being the most recent goaltender to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.

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