Now that the dust has cleared from the opening of free agency, the Kings have checked off another box on their RFA to-do list by re-signing Nick Shore to a one-year, $925,000 contract.
Shore’s new contract came in for more money and less term than expected -- and, just theorizing here, but maybe a disagreement on term is why this one took a little longer to get done -- but is still a good deal for a reliable player.
The LA Kings have re-signed Nick Shore to a one-year contract extension with an AAV of $925,000.https://t.co/uqzPmBH7Vj— #LAKings (@LAKings) July 6, 2017
It’s a bit of a “show me” contract; the organization is perhaps banking on the 24-year old center finally coming into his own this season. The team spent a lot of time last year hoping Shore could really make the third-line center role his own, with mixed results. He put up career-high numbers in goals, assists, and total points last season (6-11--17) and was generally trusted by Darryl Sutter in defensive situations. But in a year where goal scoring was dominated by just two players, the hope was that depth players like Shore and his fellow bottom six could have chipped in more.
The contract is a low-risk move. The team knows what they get from him and are comfortable letting him continue to fill the third-line center role. Shore remains an RFA at the end of the 2017-18 season. If he’s still not filling the role the team wants most from him — if they want to see more production and he just can’t find the same scoring touch he had in the AHL — his rights could easily be flipped for a draft pick in the off-season. Most likely, his numbers and performance remain relatively similar to this past season, and the team will have to decide just how much they want to pay a low-producing, defensive center.
After Shore’s signing, several RFAs still need contracts for the next season. Kevin Gravel elected arbitration to try to settle his next contract. These requests almost never progress all the way through the hearing stage, and electing arbitration is generally a move for the player to preserve his rights in the negotiation process. In all likelihood, Gravel will ink a deal well before arbitration hearings begin on July 20th. Paul LaDue, Johnny Brodzinski, and Michael Mersch are also still pending contracts but did not choose to file for arbitration. The guess is that all three of them are much closer to striking a deal than Gravel and his agent feel that they are.