Kings financials and salary chart: 2019 off-season; notes and bullet points - LA Kings Insider

First, the chart, which looks a lot prettier over at CapFriendly.
(Archives: 2018 financials and salary structure | 2012 financials and salary structure)

2019 Unrestricted Free Agents
F Jonny Brodzinski
F Zack Mitchell
G Peter Budaj (retiring)

2019 Restricted Free Agents
F Alex Iafallo*
F Brendan Leipsic*
RD Matt Roy*
F Matheson Iacopelli*
LD Alex Lintuniemi*
G Cal Petersen*
F Adrian Kempe
F Sheldon Rempal
F Nikita Scherbak
F Michael Amadio
F Pavel Jenys
LD Daniel Brickley

Expires after 2019-20
F Tyler Toffoli ($4.6M)
LD Derek Forbort ($2.525M)
F Trevor Lewis ($2.0M)
F Kyle Clifford ($1.6M)
F Carl Grundstrom ($925K / RFA)
F Mikey Eyssimont ($834K / RFA)
RD Paul LaDue ($825K)
F Austin Wagner ($759K / RFA)
RD Austin Strand ($759K / RFA)
RD Sean Walker ($745K / RFA)
G Cole Kehler ($745K / RFA)
LD Chaz Reddekopp ($733K / RFA)
F Boko Imama ($707K / RFA)
F Matt Luff ($678K / RFA)
G Jack Campbell ($675K)
LD Kurtis MacDermid ($675K / RFA*)
Mike Richards $1.32M cap recapture

Expires after 2020-21
F Ilya Kovalchuk ($6.25M)
LD/RD Dion Phaneuf ($5.25M)
LD/RD Alec Martinez ($4M)
F Blake Lizotte ($925K / RFA)
F Gabe Vilardi ($925K / RFA)^
F Rasmus Kupari ($925K / RFA)^
G Matt Villalta ($776K / RFA)^
LD/RD Kale Clague ($762K / RFA)
F Jaret Anderson-Dolan ($745K / RFA)^
F Brad Morrison ($743K / RFA)
F Drake Rymsha ($733K / RFA)
LD Jacob Moverare ($707K / RFA)

Expires after 2021-22
F Dustin Brown ($5.875M)
F Jeff Carter ($5.273M)
LD Mikey Anderson ($925K)
F Akil Thomas ($809K)
RD Sean Durzi ($809K)
LD Markus Phillips ($797K)

Expires after 2022-23
G Jonathan Quick ($5.8M)

Expires after 2023-24
F Anze Kopitar ($10M)

Expires after 2026-27
RD Drew Doughty ($11M)

Mike Richards Termination Penalty
2019-20: $250K
2020-21: $700K
2021-23: $900K
2023-25: $700K
2025-29: $600K
2029-31: $500K
2031-32: $400K

*arbitration eligible
^entry-level slide candidate

No movement/no trade clauses (courtesy Cap Friendly)
Anze Kopitar: NMC through 2019-20, Modified NTC 2020-24
–Via Cap Friendly: “Beginning in 2020-21, Player submits a list of 7 teams he is willing to be traded to”
Ilya Kovalchuk: NMC through 2019-20, Modified NTC-NMC 2020-21
–Via Cap Friendly: “2020-21: Player submits a 7 team trade list”
Dustin Brown: Modified NTC through 2021-22
–Via Cap Friendly: “Player submits a 7 team no trade list.”
Drew Doughty: NMC through 2022-23, Modified NTC through 2026-27
–Via Cap Friendly: “2023-24 to 26-27: Player submits a 7 team trade list.”
Dion Phaneuf: Modified NTC-NMC through 2020-21.
–Via Cap Friendly: “Player submits a 12 team trade list.”

Let’s just get a few general variables out of the way. The latest salary cap projection at the December Board of Governors meeting shared an $83-million upper limit, up from $79.5M in 2018-19. I’m not expecting the Kings to scrape up against the ceiling in 2018-19, even with the combined $21M in AAV allotted to Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty. Ideally, the team envisions starting the year in the upper-$70-million range, though this will be dependent on a number of variables addressed below. It’s important to understand that this team has only begun to undergo a concerted project to become younger, faster and more skilled. “Look, I chose to come here, I know what’s ahead,” said Todd McLellan, who signed a five-year contract to coach the team. While they’re also striving to repair the organizational culture and structure, they more concretely are committed to transitioning to a roster better equipped to succeed as part of a faster NHL. There is an intent to remove themselves from weighty salary commitments, but realistic opportunities didn’t present themselves at the trade deadline, and it’s unclear – and not overly promising – how the market will stack up around the NHL Draft. The famous Vin Scully-ism that “If you want to make God smile, tell him your plans,” certainly holds true, given such a wide range of variance, but there are still several musings and bullet points worth passing along as we start piecing together a preliminary salary template.

–I’m projecting both Jeff Carter and Jonathan Quick to be at training camp in September. The Kings are aggressively looking to shed long-term commitments from their books when younger options are ready to absorb playing time, but it’s not clear whether the market has shifted on a pair of players who had sub-par 2018-19 seasons, have recent injury histories, and have either three years (Carter) or four years (Quick) remaining on their contracts. Carter is owed only $7M of actual salary over the remaining three years of his contract, so he could ultimately be attractive to teams that remain below the salary cap and can afford a larger AAV without paying it out in actual cash. But his play last year didn’t result in sustained interest across the league, and the same can be said of Quick, who will be paid $7M in 2019-20 before he’s owed $9M over the remaining three years of his deal. Quick’s handling is interesting. The team needs him to rebound from a difficult season, which with less money owed him in the future, would boost his trade value a year from now. But the Kings are going to be young on defense again and will not fashion themselves contenders, meaning he won’t be cushioned by a more traditional L.A. group that limits shots and scoring chances. Again, this isn’t an exact science, and there will be teams heading into mid-June looking to add a starting goaltender. But as of today, the most likely endgame is Quick and Campbell reprising their tandem while Cal Petersen opens the season in Ontario.

–There has been consideration whether to use a buyout on Dion Phaneuf. This is something they’re not always at liberty to discuss, nor would it be in their best interest to do so in advance of when the buyout window opens in mid-June. Asked last month whether a theoretical buyout on a player was a realistic option this off-season, Rob Blake didn’t provide an outright “no,” but kept his cards somewhat close-to-the-vest by answering, “realistic in ‘there is an option to do that,’ yes.” Should the team ultimately go that route with Phaneuf, they’d take on a $2,916,667 cap hit in 2019-20, a $5,416,667 cap hit in 2020-21, a $1,416,667 cap hit in 2021-22 and a $1,416,667 cap hit in 2022-23, with Ottawa assuming 25% of each hit. While it’s the 2020-21 cap hit that appears to be the most problematic, Los Angeles ideally envisions transitioning back towards contender status in 2021-22, and tying nearly $2M up in Phaneuf and Mike Richards in 2021-22 and 2022-23 would impede the team’s ability to put the best group on the ice around when they really hope to hit stride under McLellan.

–Don’t expect Artemi Panarin to be a King. Pierre LeBrun shared in November that he’s expected to ask for $10-$11M per season, whether “in Columbus or on the open market.” Since then, negotiations have been pushed back to the off-season. Los Angeles and Florida had been reported during the season as preferred destinations for the player, but don’t bet on L.A., which won’t be in a position to contend until after his 30th birthday. Signing a free agent who envisions becoming the 11th NHL player with a double-digit AAV is incongruous with the direction, plan and patience articulated.

–The Kings need a second line center. There are certain levels of production required by the role, but the team is satisfied with Adrian Kempe as a third line center, a role that seems appropriate for a player with speed and a hardened, responsible skillset whose offense in the pro game has come in inconsistent spurts. There’s both an attainable ceiling and a comfortable present with Kempe, and as a fresh-faced 23-year-old, the 3C slot seems to again be an appropriate landing spot. Assuming he remains on the roster, Carter is a candidate to move to right wing. Before, the team struggled to find the right mix at 3C and 4C in the aftermath of Richards, Jarret Stoll and Colin Fraser’s departures. Now, there’s a hole at the 2C spot, and while there are ultimately in-house candidates that could potentially fill the role down the line in Kempe, Rasmus Kupari or Gabe Vilardi, among others, it’s a slot the team has identified as one that can be improved, especially given the line’s struggles last season. Nikolai Prokhorkin, who is expected to sign a contract in the near (if not immediate) future, plays both wing and center and would appear to be in the mix for more of a depth forward spot.

–They also need a number two defenseman. Drew Doughty likes playing with Derek Forbort, and Forbort’s stick and ability to defend rush chances make him important amidst the rise in speed and skill, but the team understands that it doesn’t have a true #2 defenseman after having traded Jake Muzzin. This isn’t to say that the Kings are going to have a laser-guided focus on moving the ends of the earth to obtain a #2 defenseman or a second line center, but rather that they’re among the holes the team has placed a priority on addressing.

–It’s too early to get a firm sense on their cap space, but it should be a decent amount. No final determination has even been made to whether they’re going to qualify Brendan Leipsic, so we’re still a ways away from putting together salary or roster guides that are more concrete than loose templates. Think of this as a jumping off point towards discussion. But working off a very basic outline that will change drastically, let’s start with this loose group of players currently under contract, or or two of whom may not even make it to July:

Forwards (11/$37,959,671): Kopitar, Kovalchuk, Brown, Carter, Toffoli, Lewis, Clifford, Grundstrom, Wagner, Amadio, Luff
Defense (6/$19,770,000): Doughty, Martinez, Forbort, Walker, LaDue, MacDermid
Goalies (2/$6,475,894): Quick, Campbell
RFAs: Leipsic, Iafallo, Kempe, Rempal, Amadio, Roy, Brickley, Petersen
Fighting for spots: Grundstrom, Wagner, Leipsic, Amadio, Luff, Walker, LaDue, MacDermid, Roy, Lizotte, Brickley, Clague, Rempal, Anderson-Dolan, Vilardi, Petersen

The above template adds up to $67,962,171 when the 19 players, Richards’ cap recapture and termination penalty, and a theoretical buyout for Phaneuf are applied. It does not account for RFA salaries. As transactions and player movement take place, I’ll update the chart and move players in and out of certain camps, depending on where they’re most likely to begin the season. It’s looking like they shouldn’t be overly burdened by the salary cap next year, though, as shared, I’m expecting them to end up right around or just below $80M if they find reasonable success in executing their plan.