NHL Free Agency 2018: Open Thread + Updates
The Kings aren’t expected to be major players today, but you never know!
While the deals aren’t official until today, the Kings got two of their most pressing July 1 needs out of the way early, by announcing the signing of Ilya Kovalchuk and the extension for Drew Doughty. With few roster spots needing filled, the Kings are likely to be fairly quiet today, but that doesn’t mean that we’ve tuned out entirely from the news.
We’ll be bringing you live updates throughout the day on this post so you can keep up with former Kings, possibly future Kings, our Western Conference rivals, and, who knows, maybe something wacky will happen. (I’m still rooting for the “John Tavares takes a sabbatical” option.) Hang out with us here in the comments as free agency unfolds.
1:00 pm Pacfic
One last update? Jordan Subban has landed with the Maple Leafs after not receiving a qualifying offer from the Kings.
11:30 am Pacific
With the main first push of free agency out of the way, the GMs are all holding their conference calls now. The Kings have officially announced the it’s-for-real-now signings of Kovalchuk and Doughty.
Welcome to LA, Ilya Kovalchuk! 👏 pic.twitter.com/DiOWsjGPso— LA Kings (@LAKings) July 1, 2018
Rob Blake, who is mostly likely done making moves for now, also confirmed the report that Doughty negotiated his own contract extension, and that it was a relatively easy process.
Doughty took his cue from Dustin Brown, who negotiated his deal on his own.— lisa dillman (@reallisa) July 1, 2018
Doughty regarding negotiating his own deal: 'I was thinking about that for years.' Said he knew $ and term and 'it was kind of easy for me' to represent himself. 'Amount of money I saved doing the deal myself is ridiculous.'— Helene Elliott (@helenenothelen) July 1, 2018
Doughty also confirms that the first four years of his deal are a full no-trade; the last four, he will submit a list of acceptable trade destinations.
Blake is also standing pat on the defense, saying that this could be Paul LaDue’s year to finally win a permanent spot on the team. (There had been some rumors that Christian Folin could return; this seems to point away from that.)
Elsewhere, Tobias Rieder is heading to Edmonton on a one year, $2 million deal. ... The Sharks allegedly offered more than $13 million a year to John Tavares, who turned them down in favor of going home. ... The Golden Knights re-signed goaltender Max Lagace, and brought on goaltender Zach Fucale. They will share the net in the AHL with the Chicago Wolves. Vegas also re-signed Ryan Reaves. No deal yet for James Neal. ... I don’t know what the Canucks are doing, but they’ve spent some of that sweet, sweet Sedin cap space on ... Jay Beagle and Antoine Roussel? Okay then.
10:00 am Pacific
John Tavares finally gives Leafs fans what they want: a good Toronto boy coming home. Tavares has signed a seven-year, $77 million deal with the Leafs.
Not everyday you can live a childhood dream pic.twitter.com/YUTKdfMALl— John Tavares (@91Tavares) July 1, 2018
In other news, Michael Mersch has a new home in Dallas, where he’s signed a two-year deal.
9:15 am Pacific
No surprise here, Kevin Gravel is not returning to the Kings. He’s heading to Edmonton.
The Kings other unsigned UFAs include Christian Folin and Michael Mersch, the latter of whom continually has all the skills except skating to make him really stick in the NHL.
9:00 am Pacific
Free agency is officially open!
Reports indicate that former King Nic Dowd is heading to the Capitals.
Also as expected, Jack Johnson is signing in Pittsburgh.
In Western Conference news...
Ian Cole may be going to Colorado. (He was briefly linked with Chicago but apparently could not come to an agreement on term.)
Center Tyler Bozak goes to St. Louis, who needs help up the middle.
Chicago has signed goalie Cam Ward and forward Chris Kunitz to one year deals, and two years for defenseman Brandon Manning.
As expected, Oliver Ekman-Larsson has re-signed for eight years in Arizona, with an $8.25 million cap hit. A two-year extension for Niklas Hjalmarsson is also in the works.
John Tavares is still, you know, thinking about stuff.
8:00 am Pacific
Tobias Rieder, a free agent after the Kings didn’t extend him a qualifying offer, is considering offers from three different teams.
John Stevens has been making the rounds to learn more about his new winger; he’s talked to Peter DeBoer about Kovalchuk. DeBoer, of course, coached Kovalchuk for two seasons (one lockout-shortened) while he was with the Devils.
Interestingly, Stevens said he spoke with Peter DeBoer about Kovalchuk, "and people really speak highly of him and how just how good of a teammate he is."— Jon Rosen (@lakingsinsider) July 1, 2018
7:00 am Pacific
For your first Kings-related news of the day, the money breakdown of Ilya Kovalchuk’s contract is now known:
Kovalchuk contract structure: $18.75M/3 Years— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) July 1, 2018
1)$8.5 ($7.85 SB $650,000 salary)
2)$6.0 ($5.30 SB $700,000 salary)
3)$4.25 salary. NMC
Lots of contracts these days are getting front-loaded in case of a lockout at the end of the next CBA. And in case you’re already thinking about the Kings buying him out for year three of that contract, you can go ahead and read the “35-plus Contracts” section on CapFriendly to see what that would look like.
In non-Kings news...
As expected, goalie Scott Wedgewood’s tenure in the Kings organization is over. He’ll head to Buffalo to be their number three goalie.
Tobias Rieder is allegedly choosing between three teams. No announcement yet.
The Golden Knights are looking to adding strength and experience up the middle; they’re the current front-runners for Paul Stastny, who couldn’t reach an agreement with the Jets.
David Perron, who has perhaps the greatest hate-fest with Jonathan Quick outside of anyone not on the Anaheim Ducks, is slated to return to the St. Louis Blues, so he can continue to be an irritant to Quick at least three times a year.
John Tavares still does not have a new home.
Check back for more updates throughout the day!