Gravel, Auger, Crescenzi, Leslie, Mersch MacDermid re-up for one year, $650K - LA Kings Insider

The Los Angeles Kings have checked an additional six names off their restricted free agents list, signing defensemen Kevin Gravel, Zac Leslie and Kurtis MacDermid and forwards Justin Auger, Michael Mersch and Andrew Crescenzi to one-year, two-way contracts with average annual values of $650K. The wonderful resource Cap Friendly first reported the Auger signing on Thursday evening, which comes with a $60,000 salary in the minors.

With the signings, the team’s lone remaining RFAs are Paul LaDue and Jonny Brodzinski. It is possible that more signings will be announced later today or this weekend.

There’s no great drama here; all were expected to come to terms with the club in the current time span. The only small wrinkle was Gravel, who had elected for salary arbitration. But there was never expected to be any significant delay in coming to terms with the defenseman, who, like the others, ultimately signed a two-way deal that carries a league minimum salary at the NHL level.

Though Gravel has NHL experience, he’ll still have to win a competition to hold onto his spot on the team. He’ll have an inside shot at doing so, which will make a player like MacDermid, who would have to clear waivers to be assigned to Ontario, a person of interest come training camp. Other interesting figures will be Auger and Mersch, who will compete against several more entrenched forces for a spot on the team without an organizational safety net of waiver freedom.

In addition to MacDermid, Mersch and Auger, several others who would have to clear waivers to be assigned to the Reign include Crescenzi, Jack Campbell, Darcy Kuemper and Jeff Zatkoff. Brodzinski, LaDue, Gravel, Oscar Fantenberg and Adrian Kempe, among others, are not yet waiver eligible. Campbell and Crescenzi have previously cleared waivers.

We’re at the juncture of the off-season where the majority of the signings are players who could play in either the AHL or NHL, so it’s tough to provide an exact representation of the 2017-18 salary structure. Cap Friendly has a very helpful page, and based on their financials, Los Angeles has 22 players, plus Mike Richards’ cap recapture and termination fee, and Matt Greene’s buyout, at a combined $69.06M. These figures include Kempe, Gravel and Kuemper on the team, and not Mersch, MacDermid, Zatkoff, Campbell, Auger, Leslie or Crescenzi (or LaDue or Brodzinski, who don’t yet have contracts). More to come, Insiders…







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Kevin Gravel

#4 | 6′ 4″ | 200 lb | Age: 24

Born: DOB: 2/17/1996
Birthplace: KINGSFORD, MI
Position: D


Gravel made his NHL debut with Los Angeles in the 2015-16 season, skating with the Kings for four games before returning to AHL affiliate Ontario.

Rob Scuderi

#0 | 6′ 1″ | 212 lb | Age: 37

Born: DOB: 12/30/1978
Birthplace: SYOSSET, NY
Position: D
Handedness: Left


Scuderi is currently playing for the Reign while under contract with the LA Kings. He has won two Stanley Cups, once with the Pittsburgh Penguins and with the Kings.

Michael Mersch

#27 | 6′ 1″ | 225 lb | Age: 24

Born: DOB: 10/2/1992
Birthplace: PARK RIDGE, IL
Position: LW
Handedness: Left


Drafted by the Kings in 2011, Mersch is currently playing forward for the Reign. Last season, he drew into his first NHL game for the Kings, where he registered 2 shots and 3 hits.

Michael Latta

#24 | 6′ 0″ | 207 lb | Age: 25

Born: 5/25/1991
Birthplace: KITCHENER, ON
Position: F
Handedness: Right


Prior to turning professional, Latta played major junior hockey in the OHL with the Ottawa 67’s and Guelph Storm. He was drafted into the NHL in 2009 and joined the King’s affiliate Reign in 2016.

Adrian Kempe

#09 | 6′ 1″ | 187 lb | Age: 20

Born: 9/13/1996
Position: LW
Handedness: Left


Growing up in Swedan, Kempe made his hockey debut in 2014 in the Swedish Hockey League. He has since been drafted by the Kings, where he is playing for their AHL affiliate team, the Ontario Reign.

Brett Sutter

#07 | 6′ 0″ | 192 lb | Age: 29

Born: 6/2/1987
Birthplace: CALGARY, AB
Position: C


Drafted in 2005 by the Calgary Flames, Sutter was traded to the Reign in 2016. He is the son of LA Kings head couch Darryl Sutter, and the eighth member of the Sutter family to play in the NHL.