The Kings had two big contracts to deal with this summer -- Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli -- and both were handled efficiently by the club early in the offseason.
That left a whole mess of Restricted Free Agents to sign. We’ve since learned that the Kings delivered qualifying offers to all of them save Joel Lowry and Patrick Bjorkstrand, who will become Unrestricted Free Agents.
Prior to that, though, the Kings took care of one other pending RFA -- Andy Andreoff.
In somewhat of a surprise announcement in the midst of the second day of the draft, the Kings announced on Saturday that Andreoff was re-signed to a two year contract for $1.355M, with an average annual value of $677,500.
The LA Kings have re-signed Andy Andreoff for two years with an AAV of $677,500.https://t.co/pnmhIKyUe9— #LAKings (@LAKings) June 24, 2017
(Unlike the Pearson/Toffoli signings, this update was not communicated to us in Sassy GIF Format.)
No matter your feelings on Andreoff, this is a completely reasonable contract for a player who will most likely wind up being the thirteenth forward. He’s versatile enough, playing at center or on the wing. His contract is comparable with other fourth line players and fringe NHLers. It certainly doesn’t break the bank, and is far less expensive than a rookie player on an ELC.
Even veteran players looking for a one year deal would certainly try to command more than $677,500 a year. And if competition for open spots gets fierce, Andreoff’s contract could easily be buried in Ontario, if it turns out there’s not a role for him at all.
Andreoff is a known quantity to the team, will likely see limited minutes, and is the kind of player you can sit for long stretches of time, particularly if there’s a more talented prospect to work into the mix, without really fearing that you’re stunting his development. At this point, he is what he is.
So from a cost control perspective, the Andreoff contract makes perfect sense.
From a “don’t we want a bottom six that produces more” perspective, well, it makes less sense. Andreoff hasn’t ever been known for an offensive touch, but this past year was even more dreadful than could have been anticipated.
For a fourth liner, Andreoff actually had a reasonably promising 2015-16 season, particularly given the low minutes and easy on-ice situations that he faced. It was completely reasonable to expect that he would have improved from there. Instead, injury and perhaps extremely bad luck saw him take a huge step back in 2016-17. “No one puts up any points” was a systematic problem for the entire team, but depth players like Andreoff seemed particularly hit by the bad luck/poor shooting bug this time around.
And from a “don’t we already have a player exactly like this on the roster already” perspective, the answer is: Yes, we do, and his name is Jordan Nolan.
Eric compared the two players in his season review, and -- spoilers -- they’re basically the same person. Nolan is slightly older, has slightly better hands, and has much better hair. Andreoff is younger, less expensive, and for a while, I could only identify him by his eyebrows. They both bring the same element to the team — grit, being “hard to play against”, and maybe chipping in a goal every so often.
Could an Andreoff signing mean that Nolan is on his way out? Or will the Kings proceed in the same fashion that they did this past season, essentially rotating the two of them in and out of the lineup? Will Andreoff be able to find any sort of offensive touch whatsoever? Is management actually working on combining the two of them into one player with one cap hit? Time will tell.