A quick follow up from the news I posted on Twitter and LAKI earlier today:
Shortly after the Kings discovered that Slava Voynov suffered a torn Achilles tendon that was suffered recreationally and away from hockey-related activity, they chose to impose their own suspension on top of the suspension levied by the NHL.
I have been told by hockey operations that the reason for the suspension is to give the club more cap space and flexibility and the ability to protect itself should Voynov not be able to play due to injury when the season resumes in the fall (under the assumption that he would be eligible to play, which is not certain).
There is obviously sensitivity towards the seriousness of Voynov’s situation after the defenseman was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence in October and subsequently charged with a felony, but there are two separate processes in play in regards to Voynov’s status. First, there is the legal process, the court system, and the indefinite suspension handed down by the NHL. Voynov’s trial is set to open July 6.
Cognizant of that, the club’s decision to suspend Voynov stems from a separate process: that of the injury suffered away from hockey-related activity. According to those I’ve spoken with in hockey operations, he’ll remain suspended by the team until he is fit to play. He will not be paid if his team-imposed suspension lasts into the season.
The team’s decision creates an additional $4.17 million of cap space and fewer commitments heading into free agency and an off-season period in which trades are much more frequent. With today’s news, the Kings now have roughly $59.98M allotted to 16 players under contract for 2015-16. Next year’s salary cap has been set at $71.4M; teams may have up to 23 players on their active roster.
In addition to the 16 players under contract for next season, Tyler Toffoli, Martin Jones, Andy Andreoff and Nick Shore remain restricted free agents, while Justin Williams, Jarret Stoll, Andrej Sekera and Jamie McBain are due to become unrestricted free agents on July 1 if they are not signed to a new contract before then. Robyn Regehr has indicated his intention to retire. Nic Dowd (RFA), Jordan Weal (RFA), Andrew Crescenzi (RFA), Vincent LoVerde (RFA), David Van der Gulik (UFA) and Andrew Bodnarchuk (UFA) have not been signed to a contract for 2015-16 at this point, either, though new contracts for Dowd and Weal are more or less formalities at this point.