As salary cap draws into focus, escrow discussions again raised - LA Kings Insider

Other topics raised during NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman’s annual state of the league address prior to Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final will be covered in additional detail, but one important note to be shared is that 2017-18 salary cap figures continued to come into focus. The new figures were similar those Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston shared in March. Johnston, on Monday:

That 5% escalator, as it is every spring, is the touchy subject. This is because the escalator necessitates a larger percentage of player paychecks being put into escrow, which, for the first quarter of the 2016-17 season, was 15.5%, according to TSN’s Frank Seravalli. “That means every NHL player will have 15.5 per cent of salary deducted from his paycheque and put aside until after all of the 2016-17 season’s hockey-related revenue is counted to ensure a perfect 50-50 revenue split with owners,” Seravalli wrote in October as an easy to understand appraisal.

“One of the issues that we hear from the players association that causes concern to the players is escrow, and obviously the higher the cap goes, the more exacerbated the escrow problem becomes,” NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said during Monday’s media availability. “So certainly our position with the players association has been we’ll manage the cap tighter and keep it lower to try to address the escrow situation for you if that’s your preference.”

In the past, there have been rumors over a partial, 2.5% escalator – this was reported by LAKI and The Globe and Mail in the 2015 off-season – but to this point, the partial escalator hasn’t appeared to have been floated publicly in 2017. While there are regular and valid complaints that surface around this time of the year that the NHLPA is putting too much money into escrow, in the past the players have voted every off-season apart from one following the 2004-05 lockout – the 2006 off-season, according to the Sports Business Journal – to incorporate the 5% escalator and lift the salary cap ceiling at the expense of player escrow withholdings.

The finalized salary cap is usually announced around the week of the NHL Draft; last year, Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports reported late on June 16 that the NHLPA had agreed to the full, 5% escalator.

This affects a Los Angeles Kings team that may not be as cap-strapped as it had been during several recent off-seasons but is still among the clubs that spend to the cap and have scant margin for error amidst its negotiations and player personnel decisions. The most important piece is RFA Tyler Toffoli, and as of the second week in May, no substantial negotiations between the club and the player had taken place. More is expected to become known on his negotiations this week and next.

Financials are still evolving due to expected roster turnover, the expansion draft and free agency, but at this moment, the Kings have approximately $63.04 invested in 17 players for the 2017-18 season, based on financials provided by Cap Friendly. (Jeff Zatkoff’s cap hit is not included in this sum, though Adrian Kempe’s is.) Hypothetically, were Marian Gaborik to be placed on LTIR at the start of the season – a highly speculative mechanism that could be used to regain nearly all of his $4.875M cap hit at the start of the season should he still be recovering from the medical procedure on his left knee – Los Angeles would have approximately between $10M and $14M to allot to up to six players. In addition to Toffoli, who will command the highest percentage of the remaining share, other restricted free agents include Nick Shore, Andy Andreoff, Kevin Gravel, Paul LaDue, Jonny Brodzinski and Michael Mersch, among others.

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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.