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Kings extend qualifying offers to seven players

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Four other players will not receive offers and will go to free agency.

Los Angeles Kings v New Jersey Devils Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Kings took the first steps towards bringing back several players who are due for new contracts, tendering qualifying offers to many of their pending restricted free agents.

Qualifying offers are a starting point for contract negotiations for RFAs; any player who does not receive a qualifying offer will become an Unrestricted Free Agent.

The players who received offers spent all or part of the 2018-19 season in the NHL: Michael Amadio, Daniel Brickley Alex Iafallo, Adrian Kempe, Cal Petersen, Sheldon Rempal and Matt Roy.

What is a qualifying offer?

With many thanks to CapFriendly’s work to break all of this down, here’s what you need to know.

Teams must give qualifying offers to their restricted free agents in order to be able to retain the rights to negotiate with that player for his next contract. The starting point for a qualifying offer is a contract that is one year in length, although the final contract a player signs may be longer in length.

The dollar amount is determined based on a formula involving the player’s current base salary (NHL salary minus any signing bonus) and must at least meat the league minimum for salary:

  • 110% of base salary if base is less than or equal to $660,000
  • 105% of base salary if base is greater than $660,000 or less than $1,000,000 (the offer itself cannot exceed $1,000,000)
  • 100% of base salary if base is greater than or equal to $1,000,000

In addition to retaining negotiating rights, teams who submit qualifying offers also have the right of first refusal to match offer sheets, if one happens to be made. If a player rejects the offer, they stay an RFA and the team retains their rights. If the player is eligible for arbitration, he may elect that route.

Teams may choose not to give a player a qualifying offer and then still sign them anyway, sometimes for an amount that is less than what the rules around qualifying offers would have required.

Now that all of those rules are out of the way, let’s look at the players the Kings have extended offers to.

Offers extended

Seven players received qualifying offers from the Kings.

Below, we outline the total salary from last season, the base salary (total salary minus signing bonus), the minimum qualifying offer based off of Cap Friendly’s offer calculator, and the estimated new contract the player will receive. The estimate is taken from Evolving Hockey’s projections for free agent contracts. Goalies are not included in their data, so there is no estimated new contract for Cal Petersen. (You can read their in-depth explanation for their methods on Hockey-Graphs.com)

Restricted Free Agents

Player 2018-19 Total Salary 2018-19 Base Salary Minimum Qualifying Offer Estimated New Contract
Player 2018-19 Total Salary 2018-19 Base Salary Minimum Qualifying Offer Estimated New Contract
Mike Amadio $742,500.00 $650,000.00 $715,000.00 2 years, $743,470 cap hit
Daniel Brickley $925,000.00 $932,500.00 $874,125.00 1 year, $754,021 cap hit
Alex Iafallo $925,000.00 $832,500.00 $874,125.00 2 years, $2,402,877 cap hit
Adrian Kempe $832,500.00 $832,500.00 $874,125.00 2 years, $2,021,232 cap hit
Cal Petersen $925,000.00 $832,500.00 $874,125.00 N/A
Sheldon Rempal $925,000.00 $832,500.00 $874,125.00 1 year, $714,421 cap hit
Matt Roy $925,000.00 $832,500.00 $874,125.00 2 years, $1,014,951 cap hit

Alex Iafallo and Adrian Kempe present the most interesting, and certainly most expensive, contracts that the Kings will need to hand out. While debate remains around the true ceiling and skill level of both players, the fact remains that as every-day NHL players, they are both due substantial increases in pay.

Neither player has truly become a difference-maker yet so they should both still come in with fairly affordable bridge contracts. They should land somewhere in between the two-year, $2.8 million deal that Tanner Pearson got in 2015 and the two-year, $6.5 million deal given to Tyler Toffoli.

Of the other remaining players, Mike Amadio and Matt Roy are the only ones who have spent significant time in the NHL, but that shouldn’t substantially change the offer. This year seems like it will be a “show me” contract for Amadio, who has failed to be able to stick in the NHL full-time, yet has largely outgrown the AHL.

Roy played 25 games in the NHL this season and was a lineup regular after being called up. There’s a lot of competition on the blue line, so the Kings need to strike the right balance between rewarding the player, motivating him, and still giving themselves flexibility to account for all of the other young defensemen coming into the system.

Petersen’s next contract will be interesting, particularly considering that they have the chance to lock him up for slightly longer term at a still-affordable number, before he really makes a dent in the NHL.

A comparable contract could be the three-year, $3 million extension that the Chicago Blackhawks signed Collin Delia to in February 2019. Delia, expected to be Corey Crawford’s backup this year, will be an inexpensive option for the Blackhawks in net for the next three seasons. Keeping Petersen around the $1 million mark in terms of annual cap hit will be key to maximize his mobility between the NHL and AHL. (Up to $1,075,000 of a contract can be buried in the AHL for the 2019-20 season; any excess will count against the NHL team’s cap hit.)

Brickley and Rempal both had limited time in the NHL. Brickley struggled at times with the transition to professional hockey and also dealt with injury and personal tragedy, as his father passed away during the season. Rempal has speed and scoring touch that will be attractive to the Kings if he can be a more consistent player from game to game. Both should ultimately sign for fairly close to the minimum.

Offers not received

As expected, four players did not receive qualifying offers: Alex Lintuniemi, Nikita Scherbak, Pavel Jenys, and Matheson Iaccopelli.

Lintuniemi was selected by the Kings in the second round of the 2014 draft. The 6’4” defenseman played one season with the ECHL’s Manchester Monarchs and three seasons with the AHL’s Ontario Reign. While he was a solid player for the Reign, his play seemed to take a step back this season and he has been skipped over on the depth chart by players like Matt Roy and Sean Walker.

Scherbak was picked up on waivers from the Montreal Canadiens in December but did not gel well with the Kings and Willie Desjardins’ coaching style. He was eventually assigned to the Reign where he recorded 11 points in 23 games. Scherbak has already been rumored to be going to the KHL’s Avangard Omsk.

Jenys and Iacopelli were both acquired in trades that were more about offering players a change in scenery. Jenys was acquired from the Minnesota Wild organization in exchange for defenseman Stephan Falkovsky. Both players spent the bulk of their time in the ECHL. Jenys is already confirmed to be returning to the Czech Republic to play for HC Kometa Brno.

Iacopelli was acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for forward Spencer Watson. Iacopelli did not appear in any games for the Reign and was assigned to the Monarchs, where he recorded five points in 12 games.

Aren’t you forgetting someone?

The Kings have not yet tendered a qualifying offer to Brendan Leipsic. There appears to be mutual interest in both parties to bring him back, but the Kings also appear to be weighing their options with him. The 25-year old Leipsic performed well for the Kings and brought energy to his shifts, something that was often sorely lacking for the team as a whole. However, with all of the young players the Kings have who will be starting their professional careers this year, the Kings may wish to allot that roster spot to one of their own prospects.

Update:

The Kings did not give Leipsic a qualifying offer. He will go to free agency. At 25 years old, the former first round pick is likely looking for term of contract and an upgrade in role on a team, something the Kings can’t really offer him, given the preference to make room for their own drafted players.

The Kings have until Tuesday at 2:00 p.m. Pacific time to formalize any qualifying offers.