2024 Exit Interviews – Viktor Arvidsson, Matt Roy, Cam Talbot

Concluding exit interviews for the 2023-24 season with a look at the three players who spoke who are pending unrestricted free agents this coming summer – Viktor Arvidsson, Matt Roy and Cam Talbot.

All three players have been contributors for the Kings in their time here. All three seemed to express an interest in potentially coming back – some more than others – though it is a business at the end of the day and that’s something that players almost always admit and understand. General Manager Rob Blake confirmed that discussions with pending UFA’s were more or less tabled until the offseason, considering the up and down nature of the team’s season. Now, with just shy of two months until July 1, the Kings are in the process of evaluating the full picture and how these players might factor in. Exit conversations happened between players and management this week and for players like Roy, Arvidsson and Tablot, assume that there was at least preliminary chatter about where things stand. Now, it’s between agents and management to take next steps.

For now, a look at what all three had to say on the potential of free agency and where they stand heading into this offseason.

Viktor Arvidsson & Matt Roy

Both Arvidsson and Roy would become unrestricted free agents on July 1.

There’s a lot of runway between now and then. Rob Blake spoke at the trade deadline about tabling conversations with potential UFA’s until the offseason, though when asked specifically about Matt Roy, he indicated he’d like to find a way to keep him in the fold on a new contract. Blake spoke yesterday about the team finalizing the overall picture, with regards to the salary cap situation, and then checking in with pending free agents like Arvidsson and Roy. The Kings, in a perfect world, would like to retain players and add to the group, but the salary cap is what it is, and with decisions made over the past three summers, cap flexibility is not what it was in say 2022.

Both Roy and Arvidsson indicated that there have not been substantial discussions to this point, which aligns with what Blake said. After things fell off course for the Kings in January, the conversations were clearly kicked into the offseason, at least in the case of Roy.

“We were looking to check in around Christmas, New Years which we did and unfortunately we had a tough January and everything went down with Todd and all that stuff, so I think that just kind of put a hold on everything,” Roy said. “We all decided to just wait until the summer to see where we’re at.”

Arvidsson’s path was different, considering the fact that he missed the all of October – January with an injury, as well as parts of February and March.

There wasn’t necessarily a ton to check in on as Arvidsson’s focus was singular – getting healthy and getting back on the ice. He was able to do that for a short stint before an unrelated injury cost him a few more weeks, but he finished the season strong and played in all five playoff games without issue. Until he had come back in played, it sounded as if neither side really saw a point in letting Arvidsson do anything other than focus on getting healthy, which he did.

“Injuries was a big part of my season, so we obviously spoke on that, I think they wanted to let me focus on that too and come back healthy, so there’s no talks or anything like that.”

Roy emphasized multiple times that he would love to return to the Kings, if the business side of things works out. He admitted that playing through negotiations in-season could have been difficult for him and he seemed to be fine with how the process played out, as conversations regarding a potential contract extension were tabled until the offseason. This is also a life-changing contract for Roy. He signed at just over $3 million per season back in 2021, a nice paycheck, but this is his opportunity to maximize dollar amount and term. Frankly, he’s earned that and he owes it to himself to take advantage of it. With that being said, he’d love for that situation to formulate with the Kings.

“I love the team, I love the guys on the team, LA is a great city, a great place to play,” Roy said. “I’d be more than happy to stay. Obviously it’s a business for both the team and myself, so I’m kind of going into the summer open minded and we’ll see what comes my way and go from there.”

For Arvidsson, his path forward certainly felt less clear.

It’s not as if he wasn’t open to returning, but frankly, he seemed focused on returning and then on playing throughout his season. He admitted that when he first got injured back in October, he opted to have surgery because the recovery timeline put him on track to play games before the season ended, which gave him a chance to showcase himself for his next deal, including the possibility of getting that deal with the Kings. Had he missed the entire season, he’s probably looking at a worse-off market.

“That was the plan, when I got injured in training camp right before the season started, that was the plan, either to have surgery or not to have surgery. I decided that because I knew I was going get a few games, and a bunch of games at the end of the year. I always needed surgery, but that was a big decision.”

Arvidsson added that he and his family are keeping an open mind for this decision and he’ll make the best one for his situation. All he, or any player, can do.

Cam Talbot

For Talbot, he made clear that he’d like to return as well.

He made two things clear with regards to his potential free agency. The opportunity to win would be his number one factor and having stability with regards to where he is for multiple years would ideally be his second most important factor.

“The opportunity to win, obviously, is a big one for me at this point in my career, I haven’t won yet, would obviously like to before I’m done,” Talbot said. “Stability would be probably number two on the list. I think for myself, my family, we’ve moved a lot lately, seven teams in 11 years, so I’d like to limit that number and keep it at seven for a little while. That would be kind of nice for me.”

Talbot is at a different place in his career than either Roy or Arvidsson.

He’ll be 37 when next season starts and he has yet to play in the Stanley Cup Finals, let alone win one. He’s also a father of two and as he noted, his family has moved around substantially over the past several years. He’d like to limit that if possible and even a one-year contract extension with the Kings would mean two seasons for his family in one place. There’s merit to that for Talbot. Still, a multi-year pact is something he’d ideally love to get, in particular with the Kings. That could mean sacrificing on the dollar side, or perhaps even on what his projected role is, considering the Kings could look at adding a goaltender to the mix via an external acquisition.

For Talbot, he seemed open to coming back, even when presented with a number of different hurdles as to why he might not come back. Even with a new system, a new coach, the dollars and cents not fully know, Talbot maintained that he’d like to be back for multiple seasons, if everything lined up.

“That would be ideal,” he said. “I’m not sure what the team has in store, anything that they have planned, but for me personally, I would love multi-year for sure. At this point, stability for my family and not having to uproot the kids and stuff like that would be nice.”

Still, Talbot is a professional and knows the business better than most. He’s lived it more than most.

He’s one of many players the Kings need to make decisions on and need to have conversations with.

“I haven’t really talked about that at all, with my agent or anything like that,” Talbot added. “Obviously this team is going to have some other tough choices to make, as far as re-signing guys, cap flexibility and stuff like that. Hopefully it can all work out for the best and I just hope I’m a part of that plan.”

For these three players and the rest of those who are unrestricted free agents, the clock sits at just under two months until July 1. There’s plenty of time to come to terms on new contracts, if both sides agree to one. Lots of time between now and then and we saw even last summer how down to the wire certain negotiations can go. I think Jaret Anderson-Dolan signed like 45 seconds before free agency opened. Tongue in cheek…..but let’s see how things play out.

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