The Los Angeles Kings checked another box off their list of restricted free agents, signing Nick Shore to a one-year, $925,000 extension. Should he not come to terms with the club on his next contract before July 1, 2018, he will again become an RFA.
It’s going to be an interesting year for Shore, who is coming off a two-year, $1.2-million contract. He’s still young – at 24, he was the youngest King prior to Adrian Kempe and Jonny Brodzinski’s arrivals – and there still exists the yet-to-be-reached ceiling of production that the center showed hints of during his very good AHL stints in Manchester. While he generated perfectly passable numbers in what was basically a fourth line center role in 2016-17, it still remains to be seen whether his playmaking skills and offensive awareness can lead to levels of production better than those of other periphery-type roster players, who are often the most likely to be replaced. There’s no doubting Shore’s responsibility in more unsung aspects of the game, and at $925K, he’s not clogging the arteries of the team’s financial structure. He has earned the coaching staff’s trust by winning faceoffs against top players, suppressing shots very well and killing penalties, but while his 17 points on a low-scoring team certainly checked a box off, the Kings would be well served if he went beyond the expectations of a depth center role and competed for minutes alongside linemates more inclined to provide offense. As noted in his evaluation, he outscored Nic Dowd, the team’s most frequent third line center, in five-on-five play.
The 2011 third round pick has 10 goals and 34 points in 172 career games, and set career-highs in goals (6), assists (11) and points (17) in 2016-17.
With Shore on board, remaining RFAs are Andrew Crescenzi, Michael Mersch, Paul LaDue, Jonny Brodzinski, Justin Auger, Zac Leslie and Kurtis MacDermid, with Gravel the lone player to elect for salary arbitration. Los Angeles currently has 21 players under contract (plus Matt Greene’s buyout, and Mike Richards’ cap recapture and termination penalty) for 2017-18 at a combined cap hit of $69.063-million, figures that include Adrian Kempe and Darcy Kuemper on the roster but not Jeff Zatkoff or the unsigned restricted free agents, based on financials provided by Cap Friendly. With approximately $5.937-million of remaining cap space, the Kings will look to construct a 23-man roster while also coming to terms with its remaining RFAs, only a portion of which will make the opening night roster. Those requiring waivers to be assigned to the AHL include Jack Campbell, Darcy Kuemper, Andy Andreoff, Zatkoff, Shore, Auger, Crescenzi, Mersch and MacDermid.
Previous RFAs to re-sign this off-season include Tyler Toffoli (three years / $13.8M), Tanner Pearson (four years / $15M) and Andy Andreoff (two years / $1.355M).