Report: Lucic to become free agent - LA Kings Insider

Today’s big news comes via’s Pierre LeBrun:

Los Angeles Kings v Calgary FlamesBased on conversations with team sources, Milan Lucic and Dean Lombardi had met yesterday at Toyota Sports Center, but based on the above news, obviously weren’t able to come to any agreement. The Kings will now be able to spend their available capital elsewhere, which was a Plan B of sorts, given the “priority” placed upon trying to come to an agreement with their to-be free agent winger.

One particularly challenging though tangential aspect of this news is that had Lucic re-signed, Los Angeles would’ve had the flexibility to move a young forward or forward prospect for a young defenseman in an effort to deal from a position of strength for a position of need. This does open up the door for Trevor Lewis to re-sign with the club, though Lewis should be expected to command a pay raise above his $1.55M cap hit from the last two seasons. Kris Versteeg is also bound for unrestricted free agency, as are Luke Schenn and Jamie McBain on the back end.

This does not represent strong asset management. There was a unique set of circumstances – such a move was precipitated, in part, because of the team’s legitimate fear that Martin Jones would be signed to an offer sheet, as noted by Frank Seravalli of TSN, who reported that San Jose General Manager Doug Wilson had notified Lombardi that an offer sheet for Jones was possible – but to lose Jones, a first round draft pick, and highly regarded defensive prospect Colin Miller for one year of Lucic is not a hallmark moment of Lombardi’s tenure, especially in the context of having traded defensive prospect Roland McKeown and a first round draft pick for 16 games of Andrej Sekera in 2014-15. Lombardi and his staff have connected more often than not on trades and in asset and personnel management, but this is still a tough blow for the team.

Given that Lucic was looking for extended term on his contract, and the Kings will now be on the hook for $10M per year of Anze Kopitar through 2024, will have to negotiate a new contract with Tyler Toffoli in the coming year, and will be tasked with signing Drew Doughty to a new contract after the 2018-19 season, such term and expense would present a challenge to a team already beset by decreased production from certain expensive players currently on the books.

The Kings have allocated approximately $65.18M to 18 players for the 2016-17 season, dollar figures that include Mike Richards’ cap recapture and settlement. The 18 combined cap hits do not include the contracts for Kevin Gravel ($668K), Michael Mersch ($787K) or Nic Dowd (RFA), three rookies with the best opportunities to earn a spot on the team. Teams may have a maximum of 23 players on their active rosters. For a list of players due for unrestricted free agency, click here.

For more on this year’s free agent crop, Craig Custance of ranks the top 25 targets in an ESPN Insider piece. The Kings were referenced alongside names such as Keith Yandle, Loui Eriksson and Andrew Ladd, the latter of whom Custance noted interested Los Angeles at the trading deadline.

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Adrian Kempe

#9 | 6′ 2″ | 195 lb | Age: 21

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


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

Alex Iafallo

#19 | 6′ | 185 lb | Age: 23

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


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

Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

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


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.

Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

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


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.

Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

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


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.

Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

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


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.