It’s Christmas in July!
The first day of free agency is here, and while the Los Angeles Kings aren’t likely to be major players — or players at all, save for perhaps veteran depth to eventually stash in Ontario — we’ll be here all day to keep tabs on what’s happening around the league.
Many of the major deals have already started leaking out — Corey Perry to Dallas, Sergei Bobrovsky to Florida, Joe Pavelski to Dallas, Artemi Panarin to whomever backs up the biggest dump truck of dollars to his house — but there’s guaranteed to be something weird pop up anyway. (Offer sheets, anyone?)
Join in our open thread in the comments below and stick around all day as we update this post with the news, big and small.
Let’s start the day with some offer sheet speculation! Sebastian Aho, come on down:
According to sources, Carolina got calls from 3 different teams today on Sebastian Aho, hinting at an offer sheet. The 'Canes told them they would match any offer sheet. Carolina did tell them they would entertain trade conversation. Believe that Habs is among 3 teams who called— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) July 1, 2019
Joonas Donskoi, who has 10 points against the Kings in 16 career games as a Shark, is heading ever so slightly east to Colorado:
Joonas Donskoi will be signing with the Colorado Avalanche. In the 3 yr $3.5M range. #Avs— Andy Strickland (@andystrickland) July 1, 2019
Joonas Donskoi (3x3.5m with Colorado, or so) is an excellent play driver with a good shot and a very strong penalty differential. What a steal. pic.twitter.com/7PTe9sTsoo— Micah Blake McCurdy (@IneffectiveMath) July 1, 2019
As reported earlier in the off-season, John Stevens is heading to Dallas as an assistant coach. Best of luck to him as he gets to blend some old guard defensemen (Roman Polak, Andrej Sekera) with the new (the very exciting Miro Heiskanen).
The Dallas Stars have hired John Stevens as Assistant Coach. Stevens spent the last nine seasons as part of the Los Angeles Kings coaching staff, the last two of which were as Head Coach. https://t.co/sSVLXu2QAu— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) July 1, 2019
Fate has a funny way of making things happen, and Jimmy Vesey is finally a Buffalo Sabre after refusing to sign with them after he finished his college career.
Remember, Buffalo owned his rights. Traded for them with Nashville. He was Sabres property and refused to sign. https://t.co/yNGSDkOWqj— Mike Harrington (@ByMHarrington) July 1, 2019
In other news... Ryan Hartman and Mats Zuccarello are both expected to sign with the Minnesota Wild. ... AHL Calder Cup MVP Andrew Poturalski is heading to Anaheim and could be interesting depth for them, and certainly a good pick-up for the San Diego Gulls. ... AHL regular season MVP Daniel Carr is going to the Nashville Predators. He was stuck behind a log-jam of other forwards in the Vegas organization and may actually get another shot at the NHL with the Predators.
New York Rangers, hello:
All signs are pointing toward the NYR landing Artemi Panarin.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) July 1, 2019
Also, the handful of you in the Nick Shore fanclub have a new team to root for that doesn’t require you to speak Russian. He’s going to the Leafs:
I like the Leafs add of Nick Shore. Gives them more depth at centre in case of injury and someone who can eat more minutes than Goat. Shore should have been in NHL last season.— James Mirtle (@mirtle) July 1, 2019
Former King Oscar Fantenberg stays out west, signing with the Vancouver Canucks. ... The Sharks lock up another one of their promising young players, giving a four year deal to Timo Meier, who nearly doubled his production as compared to the 2017-18 season.
Pittsburgh just gave a truckload of money to Brandon Tanev for some reason:
Six year deal for Brandon Tanev with an AAV of around $3.5M. https://t.co/T1Eh4t67mz— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) July 1, 2019
Because the Oilers are hilarious, they signed Mike Smith.
Matt Duchene, as expected, signed with Nashville for seven years. ... The Blackhawks, who brought back Andrew Shaw yesterday, also signed depth forward Ryan Carpenter. ... Valterri Filppula goes back to Detroit on a two-year deal. (Slightly concerned the Islanders do not.... actually....... have a team right now.) ... Max Lagace, previously part of the Golden Knights organization, heads to Boston to be their third goalie. ... Curtis Lazar and Andrew Hammond have both signed with Buffalo. Hammond is likely bound for the AHL as their number three goalie.
The Panthers and Rangers make their big splashes official:
Your girl goes to a meeting and AN OFFER SHEET BREAKS OUT. The Canadiens have tendered an offer sheet for Carolina’s Sebastian Aho, which the Hurricanes would be incredibly short-sighted to not match. The Hurricanes have a week to decide if they want to match the offer sheet.
The Canadiens have announced that they have tendered an offer sheet to restricted free agent Sebastian Aho of the Carolina Hurricanes. The proposed contract is for five years, with an average annual value of $8.454 million.#GoHabsGo— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) July 1, 2019
In relevant-to-the-Kings news, Ontario Reign forward Philippe Maillet has signed with the Washington Capitals. Maillet has spent the past two seasons-and-a-bit with the Reign after finishing his college career at the University of New Brunswick and has been one of the Reign’s better players. He will most likely spend the majority of his time with the AHL’s Hershey Bears but could get a crack at the NHL in a depth role/injury call-up. Maillet’s contract with the organization was with the Reign, not the Kings, so he was not an option to call up.
Donegal Insurance Group On The Move: The @Capitals have signed forward Philippe Maillet (@maillet07) to a two-year, two-way contract. The center had 54 points (16 goals, 38 assists) with the @ontarioreign last year. https://t.co/G3cnNLNfch pic.twitter.com/xGvvNJdnS9— Hershey Bears (@TheHersheyBears) July 1, 2019
Brendan Leipsic goes to the Capitals on a cheap, short deal, which I guess puts to rest the “he probably wanted more money/term than the Kings would give him” suggestions (that even I made, so not absolving myself here).
Word on Leipsic's deal with the #Caps: it's a one-way, one-year deal for $700K. Leipsic and Hathaway certainly give the team's fourth line a fresh new look, flanking Nic Dowd.— Mike Vogel (@VogsCaps) July 1, 2019
It’s been pretty quiet this afternoon — everyone, including the Kings, is mostly making depth signings now.
And then, this:
Lehner is indeed off to CHI. One year at $5M. https://t.co/wxcY9hwNJC— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) July 1, 2019
That is huge for Lehner, who is a legitimate NHL starting goalie and really turned his career (and his life) around this past season, but it’s also perhaps even more of an indication that the Blackhawks don’t fully believe that Corey Crawford, who has missed significant time with concussions over the past two seasons, will return to top form, or that Collin Delia is ready to take on starting duties. Crawford has one season remaining on his contract.