As free agency begins at noon ET/9 a.m. Pacific, here are some links and updates to ponder:
1. What have we heard about Doughty?!
There is no contract in place yet. It does not appear that one will be completed by 9. However, both sides seem interested in working out a long-term deal. Last night, we had this update from The Fourth Period:
I'm confident Kings/Doughty will get a deal done. I've spoken with both sides, neither seem concerned. Just takes time.
Consider, too, this tidbit that surfaced in a recent Mike Richards interview:
"I know Drew Doughty a little bit from playing at the Olympics with him, and he could not stop raving about LA and how much he loved it there..."
So there you go. From everything we've heard, Drew Doughty wants to remain a King. There is a risk that he will be given offer sheets, but he'd also have to sign them. A deal could take some time to be completed, but I believe it will be done.
2. Detroit's GM throws cold water on the idea of offer sheets
I've seen a lot of chatter around the web about the Detroit Red Wings possibly attempting to poach Doughty, since they have both capspace and a pressing need for a puck-moving blueliner. However, Holland nixed the idea in the press quite a while ago:
"I think it's a bit of an effort in futility because if you sign an offer sheet to a restricted (free agent) at the going rate, the team's going to match,'' Holland said after the press conference announcing Brian Rafalski's retirement. "The only way you get these players is if you pay them way beyond what they're worth. That's really not what the cap world is all about. The cap world is about finding players that play beyond what you pay them.''
It's possible that Holland could suddenly change his mind, but it's worth noting that he has never made an offer sheet in his entire tenure as Detroit's GM -- and he has offered solid reasons why.
3. Dreger says we are still in the hunt for Brad Richards
LA will go hard after Richards. Teams lining up to meet and make presentations today. Teams owners involved. Will be a feeding frenzy.
Lombardi told the LA Kings Insider that a "mid-range" deal was possible in free agency, which seemed to put us out of the running, but Dreger is a reliable source. Still, given the deep pocketbooks of the three other major bidders -- and their sheer desperation for a #1 center -- I think the Kings are a longshot. I'm fine with that. We already have the younger, more versatile, and cheaper Richards.
4. Michal Handzus may no longer be a King
[UPDATE: The 4th Period is reporting Handzus to the Flyers. McKenzie has denied this deal.]
Testing free agency makes sense for Zeus. While he has lost a step, Philadelphia (as well as other teams) could use a veteran defensive-minded specialist. The Mike Richards trade has given us a replacement heavy-lifter. However, we will never be able to replace his glorious hair.
Demand is outstripping supply; the cap (and the cap floor) just went up; everyone's about to be overpaid. Buckle up, everyone! Let the craziness begin.
This is your open thread.