March 9 morning skate notes; Quick expected to start; '17-18 cap update - LA Kings Insider

Good morning from El Segundo, Insiders. I wish I had more to share with you, but Thursday’s morning skate was optional, so no line rushes were held. Also, all players who did take part left at relatively the same time, so it’s not clear if there will be a change on defense (i.e., whether Kevin Gravel, who hasn’t dressed for the last three games, might re-enter the lineup). Let’s share what we have:

-Jonathan Quick was the first goaltender off the ice and will be expected to start against the Nashville Predators (7:30 p.m. / FOX Sports West / FOX Sports GO / KABC 790 / I Heart Radio). For as difficult as these teams have been to score on over the better part of the last decade, neither Quick (4-8-2 / 2.85 / .894 vs Nashville) nor Pekka Rinne (11-7-4 / 2.84 / .896 vs Los Angeles) have good all-time splits in the head-to-head series. There’s no word as of the publication of this article whether Nashville will go with Rinne, who stopped 39 of 42 shots in a 4-3 shootout loss in Anaheim on Tuesday, or rookie Juuse Saros, who is 7-6-3 with a 2.33 goals-against average and a .925 save percentage.

-Forward lines, as indicated in practice this week, should be Iginla-Kopitar-Gaborik, Pearson-Carter-Toffoli, Lewis-Kempe-Brown and Andreoff-Dowd-Clifford.

-Dustin Brown, on skating with Adrian Kempe and Trevor Lewis: “Kempe I think brings a lot of speed up the middle, which is a challenge for teams when you have guys that can skate. I mean, look at our other two centers, they can get up the ice pretty well. So it’s on me and Lewie to make plays along the wall and get him the puck kind of underneath. He’s a young guy but he thinks the game really well, so me and Lewie have got to just put our work boots and kind of let him — I think last game was actually, it was exactly what we wanted, really. With him and the speed and skill in the middle and me and like I said, Lewie, we do all the work getting the puck and let him kind of do his thing.”

-Some decent news for NHL teams, and perhaps for Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson’s financial advisors, as well:

This is reassuring news, because earlier reports had indicated that the salary cap could remain flat (which is still very much a possibility). But while players are becoming wary of too much of their salaries being tied up in escrow, there still shouldn’t be too much concern over whether they decide to activate their annual inflator, which has happened every off-season except for one since the introduction of the salary cap in 2005. Should the players activate the 5% escalator, there could be a salary cap in the range of $75.5-million to $76-million next season. In the past, there has also been discussion of a partial, 2.5% escalator. Stay tuned this spring for continued LA Kings Insider coverage of salary cap-related drama.

As noted yesterday, Los Angeles currently has 16 players under contract for 2017-18 at approximately $59.3-million, according to financials provided by Cap Friendly. While no other players expected to re-sign with the club are expected to command significant capital apart from Tanner Pearson or Tyler Toffoli, other restricted free agents include Nick Shore, Andy Andreoff, Paul LaDue, Kevin Gravel, Jonny Brodzinski, Michael Mersch and Justin Auger amongst a crop of 15 players. The players due to become unrestricted free agents without a new contract are Jarome Iginla, Ben Bishop, Devin Setoguchi, Rob Scuderi, Vincent LoVerde and Cam Schilling.

-Tonight’s officials are referees Trevor Hanson and Frederick L’Ecuyer and linesmen Scott Cherrey and Vaughan Rody. Pia Toscano will sing the national anthem. If you’re looking for LA Kings Insider: The TV Show, I’ll jump on the NHL Network at 2:05 p.m. PT. Darryl Sutter didn’t speak today, but Dustin Brown had some interesting observations. More to come on a busy game day, Insiders. Let’s talk soon.

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.