Kings Sign 4 – Andreas Englund (2 years), Mikhail Maltsev, David Rittich & Steven Santini (1 year)

The LA Kings have signed defenseman Andreas Englund to a two-year, one-way contract. Additionally, the Kings have signed forward Mikhail Maltsev, as well as defenseman Steven Santini and goaltender David Rittich, to one-year contracts.

Looking at these signings, there’s obviously a wide variety of players in this range. Englund has the highest cap hit, plus the additional year of term. He played just shy of 50 NHL games this past season between Colorado and Chicago. He’s the most likely from this group to play NHL games this season and should be a firm competitor for the LD3 spot on the opening-night roster.

Regarding the other three players, Rittich is an experienced and high-caliber third goaltender. Expect him to come to training camp and compete for a job, hopefully pushing Cam Talbot and Pheonix Copley, and he provides another solid option for the team between the pipes. Regarding the pair of Maltsev and Santini, both are guys who have NHL experience, but have not yet solidified themselves as NHL regulars. Maltsev comes at a league-minimum NHL cap hit and played NHL games last season with Colorado, while Santini has long been a player who has been capable of filling in when called upon. A more detailed breakdown of all four guys below –

Andreas Englund
Contract Details – Two Years, One Way, $1,000,000 AAV

Seeing the Kings sign a player to compete for a bottom-pairing role on the blueline makes a lot of sense, especially at this price point. Englund spent the bulk of last season in that role with the Colorado Avalanche, before he was moved to Chicago at the trade deadline. Englund has experience, with 80 NHL games to his name at 27-years-old, but isn’t over the hill either, right around the prime area of his career. More on his signing below –

Englund is the largest signing from that group, considering the higher salary-cap hit and the longer term. Englund is also large himself (six-foot-three), physicality and defensive awareness to the Kings blueline, as a player who prioritizes his own end first and is comfortable and familiar at the NHL level. He is also extremely physical, ranking fourth in the NHL in hits per/60 last season, among defensemen with at least 500 minutes played at 5-on-5.

He’s certainly not a point producer – zero goals and seven assists from 80 career NHL games – but he certainly fills a role for the Kings. His splits between Colorado and Chicago were right around 50 percent in the possession categories. 49.5 percent CF%, 49.9% in SCF% and 49.3% in HDCF. All of those numbers came when was absolutely buried in zone starts, starting just 17 percent off his shifts in the offensive zone, the second lowest rate in the NHL. No player who played in at least 500 minutes at 5-on-5 was on the ice for fewer offensive-zone faceoffs than Englund. Difficult assignments, leading to average metrics, and he’s extremely tough and physical. A player who the Kings don’t really have in the system right now and they add him to the group for a manageable salary-cap hit.

Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

David Rittich
Contract Details – One Year, One Way, $875,000 AAV

We knew the Kings would be proactive in signing two goaltenders during free agency and Rittich is a great value add for the price the Kings are getting him at. When you look at what the Kings did today, they added a veteran goaltender in Cam Talbot and a guy in David Rittich who was an NHL All-Star in 2020. Talbot’s deal is the larger one and he would figure to partner Pheonix Copley on the NHL roster, but don’t sleep on a guy like Rittich as a very capable option as well.

Rittich spent the 2022-23 season as the backup goaltender to Connor Hellebuyck in Winnipeg. Rittich played in 21 games this past season with the Jets, posting a 9-8-1 record, with a .901 save percentage and a 2.67 goals-against average. Rittich has 172 career NHL games to his name, with a career record of 79-51-21, with a .904 save percentage and a 2.87 goals-against average. He’s played with Calgary, Toronto, Nashville and Winnipeg over the course of his NHL career.

Looking at where Rittich might slot in for the Kings, it’s likely as the organization’s third goaltender to start things off, but he’s a terrific insurance policy to have. He’s capable of making it a conversation between the betting favorites to start the season – Talbot and Copley – for the tandem at the NHL level but Rittich is a very capable option to serve as a part of an NHL tandem. Rittich had a GSAA (goals-saved above average) of -1.54 this past season, so slightly below even, but that number was almost identical to Copley.

Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images

Mikhail Maltsev
Contract Details – One Year, Two Way, $775,000 AAV

Maltsev has appeared in 56 NHL games over the past three seasons with Colorado and New Jersey, collecting a total of nine points (6-3-9). Maltsev fits the theme of the day, which is value signings to give the Kings options in rounding out their NHL roster. Throughout his career to date, Maltsev has been fairly productive at the AHL level over the last two seasons, collecting 69 points (28-41-69) from 84 games played.

This past season, Maltsev missed a decent chunk of action with a lower-body injury suffered in November, right as he was getting his look at the NHL level. His injury required surgery, but he did come back to skate in seven playoff games with the AHL club. Standing at 6-3, Maltsev provides some size, which makes him a fit to potentially play in the bottom six with the Kings. With a salary-cap hit of just $775,000, he’s in a position to merit an NHL spot either out of camp or throughout the season, at a number that makes the most sense for the Kings.

Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Steven Santini
Contract Details – One Year, Two Way, $800,000 AAV

Santini has played at least one NHL game, between the regular season and playoffs, over each of the last eight seasons. Santini has a total of 123 career NHL games played with New Jersey, Nashville and St. Louis, though he’s spent the bulk of the last few seasons at the AHL level. Most recently, Santini amassed 10 points (2-8-10) from 64 games played with the AHL’s Springfield Thunderbirds.

The Kings organization was flush with right-shot defensemen until recently, when Sean Walker, Sean Durzi and Helge Grans were moved out via trade. The Kings still have more, NHL-ready players at that position than they do roster spots, but Santini is a depth option who is very capable at the AHL level, while also providing the ability to fill in with the big club. Certainly a depth signing, but one that provides the Kings with a nice insurance policy on the backend with a capable veteran.

Photo by Joe Puetz/NHLI via Getty Images

From the team’s official release –

Englund, 27, split the 2022-23 season between the Chicago Blackhawks and Colorado Avalanche, appearing in 47 games and earning four points (0-4=4) with 35 penalty minutes (PIM) to establish single-season career highs in games played, assists, points, PIM and shots on goal (31). He also played in 15 American Hockey League (AHL) contests with the Colorado Eagles, collecting three points (1-2=3) with a plus-one rating and 47 PIM.

Originally drafted by the Ottawa Senators in the second round (40th overall) of the 2014 NHL Draft, Englund has registered seven points (0-7=7) in 80 career NHL games with Chicago, Colorado and Ottawa. The 6-3, 189-pound blueliner has also posted 49 points (10-39=49) with 410 PIM in 300 career AHL games and added two points (1-1=2) in eight Calder Cup Playoff games. A native of Stockholm, Sweden, Englund also represented his native country at three International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) events, including two IIHF World Junior Championships (2016 – captain, 2015) and one IIHF Under-18 Men’s World Championship (2014), registering two assists (0-2=2) in 21 contests.

Rittich, 30, played 21 games for the Winnipeg Jets last season, posting a 9-8-1 record with a 2.68 goals-against average (GAA) and a .901 save percentage (SV%). The 6-4, 205-pound netminder joins the Kings having played parts of seven NHL seasons with the Jets, Nashville Predators, Toronto Maple Leafs and Calgary Flames. In 172 career NHL games, Rittich has accumulated a record of 79-51-21 with a 2.87 GAA, .904 SV% and four shutouts. A 2020 NHL All-Star Game participant, his best NHL season came in 2018-19 with the Flames where he established a record of 27-9-5, setting career marks in wins, goals-against average (2.61), save percentage (.911%).

Originally signed as an undrafted free agent by Calgary in 2016, Rittich has played in two seasons (2016-18) with the Stockton Heat of the AHL, going 22-16-5 with a 2.53 GAA, .914 SV% and seven shutouts. In four Calder Cup Playoffs games, Rittich went 2-1-0 with a 2.88 GAA and .917 SV%. The Jihlava, Czechia native has represented his home country at the 2018 IIHF Men’s World Championship, posting a 2-1-0 record with a 1.98 GAA, .900 SV% and one shutout.

Maltsev, 25, split the 2022-23 season between the Avalanche and Eagles, appearing in five NHL contests with the Avalanche and 28 AHL games with the Eagles. With the Eagles, the 6-3, 198-pound forward earned 21 points (11-10=21) with eight PIM and a plus-12 rating and added four points (3-1=4) in seven Calder Cup Playoff games.

A fourth-round selection (102nd overall) of the New Jersey Devils in 2016, Maltsev has posted nine points (6-3=9) in 56 NHL contests with the Avalanche and Devils. In 134 AHL games, he has registered 91 points (40-51=91) with 56 PIM and a plus-19 rating with the Eagles and the Binghamton Devils. The St. Petersburg, Russia native represented his home country at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship, collecting two assists in five tournament games.

Santini, 28, spent time with both the St. Louis Blues and Springfield Thunderbirds (AHL) last season, appearing in five NHL contests and collecting 10 points (2-8=10) with 32 PIM and a plus-8 rating in 64 AHL games. A second-round selection (42nd overall) by the New Jersey Devils in the 2013 NHL Draft, the 6-2, 209-pound blueliner has registered 23 points (5-18=23) and 57 PIM in 123 NHL contests with St. Louis, Nashville and New Jersey. In 239 AHL games, he has posted 50 points (10-40=50), 142 PIM and a plus-37 rating with Springfield, Utica Comets, Milwaukee Admirals and Albany/Binghamton Devils.

Prior to turning pro, Santini spent three years with Boston College (H-East), appearing in 98 NCAA games and collecting 35 points (5-30=35) with 122 PIM and a plus-48 rating. Internationally, the Bronxville, N.Y. native has represented the United States on three occasions, including one IIHF World Championship (2016), one IIHF World Junior Championship (2014), and one IIHF Under-18 Men’s World Championship (2013 – silver) and earned Best Defenseman tournament honors in 2013. In 22 appearances, he has scored one goal (1-0=1).

Rules for Blog Commenting

  • No profanity, slurs or other offensive language. Replacing letters with symbols does not turn expletives into non-expletives.
  • Personal attacks against other blog commenters, and/or blatant attempts to antagonize other comments, are not tolerated. Respectful disagreement is encouraged. Posts that continually express the same singular opinion will be deleted.
  • Comments that incite political, religious or similar debates will be deleted.
  • Please do not discuss, or post links to websites that illegally stream NHL games.
  • Posting under multiple user names is not allowed. Do not type in all caps. All violations are subject to comment deletion and/or banning of commenters, per the discretion of the blog administrator.

Repeated violations of the blog rules will result in site bans, commensurate with the nature and number of offenses.

Please flag any comments that violate the site rules for moderation. For immediate problems regarding problematic posts, please email