Post-GM Meetings updates: Salary cap, expansion - LA Kings Insider

Several General Managers Meeting bits that I had been meaning to share this week:

-An early salary cap ceiling projection of $74-million was shared with the league’s general managers. As noted, that’s still on the higher end of potential caps and is based on the NHLPA agreeing to opt for the annual inflator. There are often stories late in the season over whether or not the players will vote to implement the 5% escalator clause, though as Pierre LeBrun noted, only once since the salary cap was implemented in 2005 has the escalator not been added. Last year, the salary cap rose from $69M to $71.4M, so a rise to $74-million is slightly above (but completely in line with) recent raises.

“You’re looking, probably, at the high-end, approximately a $74-million cap with a basic inflator and without you’re looking at a flat cap,” Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said, as reported by Frank Seravalli of TSN. “Our practice with Players’ Association really has been over the last couple years to try to sit down and talk about a reasonable projection for revenue growth and build in that inflator. So that’s what I’d say: It’s somewhere probably between the current cap and $74 million.”

Amidst a bottomed-out-and-perhaps-rebounding Canadian dollar, a $74M cap would be on the most positive end of the spectrum for the Kings, who are among the teams that spend directly up to the cap and will be dinged $10M for Anze Kopitar’s services next season. According to figures available at General Fanager, Los Angeles has allocated $63.48M to 17 players for the 2016-17 season, dollar figures that include Mike Richards’ cap recapture and settlement but not the retention-affected $2.25M cap hit for Vincent Lecavalier, who has indicated his intention to retire. Milan Lucic, Trevor Lewis, Luke Schenn, Jamie McBain and Jhonas Enroth will become unrestricted free agents if they do not sign a new contract with the club in advance of July 1, while Brayden McNabb, Derek Forbort and Nic Dowd are due to become restricted free agents. Preliminary contract discussions have already begun with Lucic and Schenn, amongst others.

Were the Kings to reach an agreement with Lucic on a new contract, they would need to shed salary currently on their books to remain cap compliant and competitive next season.

-Because much of the discussions on potential expansion were speculative – there is no, clear and present indication that the league will expand imminently, though there should be an update by the NHL Draft in June – the salary cap update was the most concrete development to come out of the meetings. Still, general managers received an update on expansion progress and the parameters from which an expansion club (or clubs) would be able to populate their rosters.

From Jonas Siegel of The Globe and Mail:

“If there’s going to be an expansion you want the teams to be a little more competitive than perhaps they’ve been out of the box,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said. “The notion has been that perhaps in the past if the team isn’t competitive enough out of the box there’s an initial enthusiasm and then it kind of wanes until the team re-establishes itself.”

The basic premise for an expansion draft would see teams risk losing one player under a one-team expansion and two players under a two-team scenario. The rules for protection of players, however, would be tighter than the last round of expansion in 2000.

Teams under the current framework could protect seven forwards, three defencemen and one goaltender or eight skaters and a goaltender. First and second year pros in any league are automatically exempt as are unsigned draft picks.

Again, don’t panic on who the Kings may or may not lose, because expansion is not definite. Should it become a reality, the earliest a new team could join the league would be in the 2017-18 season. Prospective ownership groups from Las Vegas and Quebec City have submitted expansion bids; the potential Las Vegas owner has already pinpointed a parcel of land in suburban Summerlin on which a practice facility would be constructed.

Adrian Kempe

#9 | 6′ 2″ | 195 lb | Age: 21

Born: September 13, 1996
Birthplace: Kramfors, SWE
Position: LW
Handedness: Left

Bio

Kempe was selected by the Kings in the first round (29th overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft.
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Alex Iafallo

#19 | 6′ | 185 lb | Age: 23

Born: December 21, 1993
Birthplace: Eden, NY, USA
Position: C
Handedness: Left

Bio

Iafallo was signed by the Kings as an unrestricted free agent on April 18, 2017.
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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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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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