Category Archives: Kings

Kings Draft Vilardi & Ducks Re-Sign Eaves

June 23, 2017

The Kings took steps toward helping their offensive woes on Friday by drafting Gabe Vilardi with the #11 pick in the NHL Draft.

Vilardi is a 6’3, 203 LB center from Kingston, Canada.  Last season he scored 29 goals and 61 points in 49 games for the Windsor Spitfires in the Ontario Hockey League.

The 17-year-old was rated as high as the fourth best player in the draft according to some publications, but fell out of the top 10 due to some of his perceived skating deficiencies.  However, the Kings were impressed with Vilardi’s big game abilities.  He impressed them with seven assists in Windsor’s four-game victory over Erie in the Memorial Cup final.

“We found that on the biggest stage, he took it to another level,” Kings assistant general manager Michael Futa said of Vilardi. “We were looking to upgrade our skill, and it’s a package of a big kid with just incredible skill set and he’s a winner.”

Vilardi will attend the Kings development came in El Segundo next week.  Although he will likely not be a part of the Kings roster this upcoming season, some are projecting him to be a part of the Kings team by the 2018-2019 season.

Meanwhile, the Ducks did not have a 1st round pick in Friday’s 1st round.  However, they re-signed winger Patrick Eaves, who they acquired from the Dallas Stars for what turned into this year’s first round pick after advancing to the Western Conference Finals.

Eaves signed a 3-year $9.45 million contract with Anaheim.  He scored 11 goals in 20 regular season games following the trade to Anaheim.  He also added two goals in seven playoff games.  However, he suffered an ankle injury during the 2nd round against Edmonton, knocking him out of the remainder of playoff action.

His contract includes a no-movement clause as well.  Eaves would have been an unrestricted free agent on July 1st, but liked what he saw in Anaheim.

“Being in that locker room is something special. I noticed that on day one,” said Eaves.   “I’ve played with great players, great people …There was something different.”

Rounds 2 through 7 of the NHL draft will commence on Saturday at the United Center in Chicago.

Kings & Ducks Lose D-Men in Expansion Draft

June 21, 2017

The Kings and Ducks both lost defenseman in the NHL Expansion Draft on Wednesday night.  The Las Vegas Golden Knights selected Brayden McNabb from the Kings, and Clayton Stoner from the Ducks.

In addition, the Ducks traded defenseman Shea Theodore to Las Vegas, and in exchange, the Golden Knights agreed not to select Ducks defenseman Sami Vatanen or Josh Manson.

Under the Expansion Draft rules, Las Vegas was required to select at least one player from each of the 32 NHL clubs.  However, since some teams had trouble deciding which players they wanted to protect from selection, they made trades with Vegas, like the Ducks did, sending them additional players so other unprotected players could not be selected.

In the case of the Ducks, they were forced to leave talented defenseman Vatanen and Manson unprotected, caused by having several players on their team with no-movement clauses, which forced them to protect those players.

Stoner was injured for much of last season, and carried a cap hit of $3.25 million.  That’s a big win for Anaheim.  However, Theodore was a promising young defenseman that needed to be traded in order to prevent the loss of two very talented young defenseman.

In the case of the Kings, there were several players who were candidates to be selected by Vegas such as forward Trevor Lewis, Kyle Clifford, Nic Dowd, and possibly even Dustin Brown.  However, the Golden Knights chose the young, hard-hitting defenseman McNabb.

The loss of McNabb gives the Kings an additional $1.8 million under the salary cap.  Although the Kings can bear the loss of McNabb’s talent, they were likely hoping a higher salaried player like Brown would be taken.

Kings Re-Sign Tyler Toffoli

June 7, 2017

The Kings re-signed forward Tyler Toffoli to a 3-year $13.3 million contract extension on Wednesday. Toffoli was scheduled to become a a restricted free agent come July 1st.

The 25-year-old forward will carry a very reasonable cap hit of $4.6 million for the next three seasons, after which he will still be able to return to free agency at the age of 28.

Toffoli has been one of the Kings most important offensive players over the past two seasons.  He scored 16 goals and 34 points in 63 games this past season, in which he dealt with an injury.  However, during the 2015-2016 season he scored a career-high in goals with 31, and in points with 58.

Toffoli also had 14 points in 26 playoff games during the Kings’ run to the Stanley Cup title in 2014.

Toffoli had postseason surgery on his left knee after struggling with injuries for half of the season, according to his agent, Pat Brisson.  He is expected to be ready for training camp.

With Toffoli and Tanner Pearson signed to extensions, the Kings now have 18 players under contract for $67 million.  The NHL salary cap is expected to come in between $73-$76 million, meaning the Kings have some flexibility for additional moves.


Kings Re-Sign Pearson

May 10, 2017

The Kings have signed Tanner Pearson to a 4-year contract extension worth $15 million.  Pearson would have been a restricted free agent on July 1st.

The 24-year-old left wing scored 24 goals and 44 points in 80 games for the Kings last season.  In the past two years, he’s scored 39 goals for the Kings, and been one of the most reliable offensive players.

“We were able to come to a good deal, and we were both pretty happy about it,” Pearson said. “There’s obviously a bit of negotiating that had to be done. Other than that, it went pretty smoothly and I’m happy with staying in L.A.”

With a salary cap hit of $3.75 million, Pearson’s new contract should help the Kings manage their difficult salary cap situation a little better.

LA also traded the rights to goaltender Ben Bishop to the Dallas Start for a 4th round pick in 2017.  The pick originally belonged to the Montreal Canadians.

Dallas has until July 1 to reach an agreement with Bishop, before he’ll be able to negotiate with all 30 other teams as a free agent.

The Kings will now look to re-sign forward Tyler Toffoli, who is also scheduled to be a restricted free agent on July 1st.  Toffoli scored 16 goals last year in an injury-shortened season.  He’s scored a total of 47 goals in the past two seasons.



Kings Name John Stevens Head Coach

April 23, 2017

The Kings have promoted assistant John Stevens to head coach, which the team announced on Sunday.

Stevens replaces Darryl Sutter, who was fired by the team on April 10, along with General Manager Dean Lombardi.

The 51-year-old has been on the Kings coaching staff for the last seven season.  Prior to being a part of the Kings staff, he coached the Philadelphia Flyers from 2006-2009, where he compiled a record of 120-109-34.  In 2008, he led Philadelphia to an Eastern Conference Final appearance.

General Manager Rob Blake and Stevens held discussions for over a week now regarding the direction of the hockey club.

“John and I had very productive dialogue this last week in relation to his head coaching philosophy and specifically how he would implement a strategy to activate our players offensively while maintaining the defensive philosophies we have come to be known for,”  Blake said in a statement. “I am confident that we are both in agreement on how that can be executed.

“With that said, we believe John has the ideal qualities to lead our hockey club. His wide array of coaching experience, including success as an NHL head coach and his inherent knowledge of our players and those in our development system, is very appealing to us. We are confident he is the best person to lead our hockey club forward.”

Stevens is known for being a very defensive-minded head coach, but his challenge will be improving upon a Kings offense that was ranked 25th in the NHL last season.  LA missed the playoffs for the 2nd time in the last 3 seasons.

The Kings will hold a press conference on Monday afternoon to make the announcement and formally introduce Stevens.

Kings Fire Sutter & Lombardi

April 10, 2017

The Kings began their offseason with a major shakeup on Monday night, firing head coach Darryl Sutter, and General Manager Dean Lombardi.  Lombardi will be replaced by Rob Blake, who was serving as Assistant General Manager, and Luc Robitaille will become team President.

Under Lombardi and Sutter, the Kings had the most successful four year run in franchise history, winning Stanley Cups in 2012 and 2014.    However, in the last three years, the Kings have missed the playoffs twice, and won only 1 playoff game in that stretch.

Dan Beckerman, President and CEO of Kings parent company AEG, made this statement on Monday:

“This was an extremely difficult decision and was made with an enormous amount of consideration for what we have accomplished in our past. But the present and future of our organization is the highest priority,” said Beckerman. “Words cannot express our gratitude and appreciation for what Dean and Darryl have accomplished for the Kings franchise. They built this team and helped lead us to two Stanley Cup Championships and will forever be remembered as all-time greats in Kings history. But with that level of accomplishment comes high expectations and we have not met those expectations for the last three seasons. With the core players we have in place, we should be contending each year for the Stanley Cup. Our failure to meet these goals has led us to this change.”

The Kings will hold a press conference on Tuesday afternoon at Staples Center to discuss the news, which isn’t all that much of a surprise given recent speculation.

Sutter finished with the best coaching record in franchise history, 225-147-53, and the second-most games coached in L.A history.  However, Sutter was criticized by many for his inability to consistently give opportunities to his younger players that needed to be developed.

Lombardi had a year left on his contract.  He was the architect of two Stanley Cup Championship teams, drafting the likes of Drew Doughty, and fortifying the roster with veterans like Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, and Marian Gaborik.  However, Lombardi’s loyalty to those veteran players created a very difficult salary cap situation for the Kings to improve their team, and their physical style took a toll on those aging veterans.

One coaching candidate the Kings may look to is John Stevens, who has been the team’s associate head coach and previously coached the Philadelphia Flyers.  Ontario Reign Coach Mike Stothers could also be in the mix if the Kings intend to give more opportunity to ether younger players.

Robitaille and Blake will have to address what style the Kings will play moving forward, but will have to do so with limited salary cap flexibility to improve the roster.  Leadership will also be a major question, after stripping Dustin Brown of the captaincy last season, while giving it to Anze Kopitar, who had a very poor offensive season.


Kings Win In Bob Miller Home Finale

April 8, 2017

The Kings defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 in overtime on Saturday afternoon at Staples.  The win was a nice way to say goodbye to Kings Hall of Fame play-by-play announcer Bob Miller, who was calling the final home game of his career.

Drew Doughty scored the game-winning goal 27 seconds into overtime, after redirecting a pass from Jeff Carter past Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford.  The goal finished off an exciting 3rd period, which saw the Kings rally twice from one-goal deficits.  Dustin Brown and Tyler Toffoli also scored for the Kings.  Chicago’s goals came from Jonathan Toews and and Artemi Panarin.

The Blackhawks had a 1-0 lead after Toews wristed a shot that deflected off of Jonathan Quick’s shoulder at the 6:25 mark of the 1st.  That lead would stand until the 3rd.

Toffoli blasted a one-timer by Corey Crawford on the power play at 4:52 of the 3rd period.  That tied the game, but the Hawks would strike back 9 minutes later, when Panarin scored his 31st of the season.  Panarin took a cross-ice pass from Patrick Kane, which Quick had no chance to stop.  However, Brown tied it up again with 55 seconds left in the game, after sneaking backdoor and putting a backhander by Crawford.

That set the stage for Doughty’s heroics in overtime.  Quick made 25 saves as well for the Kings, who will miss the playoffs for the 2nd time in the last 3 seasons.

Miller has spent 44 years as the voice of the Kings.  Saturday afternoon’s game featured a number of tributes to him, which including the likes of Wayne Gretzky, Barry Melrose, Vin Scully, and many others.

Miller will call the final game of his career on Sunday night in Anaheim, against the Ducks.

Flames Burn Kings

April 6, 2016 

The Flames got 3 second period goals on Thursday night and took down the Kings 4-1 at Staples Center.  

Jon Gillies made 27 saves in his first career start, and Dennis Wideman, Freddie Hamilton and Alex Chiasson scored during the 3 goal blitz in a game that meant nothing to the Kings in the standings.  The Flames on the other hand are trying to earn the top wild card spot in the West.

The Kings lone goal on the night came from Trevor Lewis, just over 6 minutes into the game.  That tied the game at 1-1 after Sam Bennett gave the Flames a 1-0 lead at the 4:57 mark of the 1st.

Ben Bishop made 20 saves for the Kings, and has lost 5 of his 7 starts since being acquired just before the trade deadline.

“We don’t match up in our division very well, and we certainly did not tonight and it’s clear,” Kings coach Darryl Sutter said.

The Flames can now assure themselves a first-round matchup against the top team in the Pacific Division with a win against San Jose or a Nashville loss at Winnipeg on Saturday.

The Kings have two games remaining in their season.  They’ll face the Blackhawks on Saturday at Staples, and finish the season on Sunday at the Ducks.  Those will be the final two games that Hall of Fame Kings broadcaster Bob Miller will call for his storied career.

Kings Find Offense Against Oilers

April 4, 2017

The Kings got their offense going on Monday night at Staples Center in a 6-4 win over the Oilers.  The win ended the Oilers 5-game win streak, and put a dent in their hopes of winning the Pacific Division.

Trevor Lewis and Tanner Pearson scored 8.5 minutes apart in the 3rd period, and Jonathan Quick made 23 saves for the Kings.

The Kings also got goals from Nic Dowd, Nick Shore, Dustin Brown, and an empty-netter from Drew Doughty.  It was just the 2nd time in the last 7 games that the Kings were able to defeat a playoff-bound opponent.

For the Oilers, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had two goals, while Milan Lucic and Daniel Nurse scored as well.

Cam Talbott made 20 saves for Edmonton, which is now tied with San Jose for 2nd place win the Pacific Division with three games left.

The Kings have three games left this season.    They will return to action on Thursday vs Calgary at Staples Center.

Kings Eliminated By Arizona

April 2, 2017

The Kings were officially eliminated from postseason contention on Sunday night with a 2-1 loss to Arizona at Staples Center.

The loss was very symbolic of the Kings’ season.  They needed a win to keep their season alive against a very bad team, the team with the 2nd worst record in the West, and they came up short.

The Coyotes got on the board late in the 1st period, when Alexander Burmistrov tapped home his own rebound past Jonathan Quick.  The goal came on the power play with just 15 seconds left in the period.

Arizona would strike again at the 3:09 mark of the 2nd when Anthony Duclair took advantage of sloppy Kings’ puck handling.  Duclair scored on his own rebound, and the Coyotes had a 2-0 lead.

The Kings would score a fluke goal in the 3rd period when Alec Martinez tried to shoot the puck along the boards into the Coyotes zone from center ice.   The puck bounced off Coyotes defenseman Jordan Martinook, and back toward the Arizona goal, which was vacated by goaltender Mike Smith.  Smith thought the puck was going to end up behind the net before it was re-directed towards the goal, but the puck ended up going into the open net.

That’s as close as the Kings would get.  They had three power play opportunities after that, but were unable to tie the game.  After the game Anze Kopitar reflect on the missed opportunities.

“We just had too many stretches of playing not remotely good enough, and the losses kept piling on,” Kopitar said. “I think coming back after the break, we weren’t as sharp as we needed to be.”

Jonathan Quick said the problem was more than just lack of offense. “I don’t think it’s all on the goal scoring.  This time of year you’ve got to know how to keep the puck out of your net just as much as you need to know how to put it in. It’s on everybody.”

With much younger and faster teams in the division, the Kings will have to consider much more significant changes this offseason.  LA has missed the playoffs in two of the last three seasons, and has just one playoff win in that stretch.  Many of their quality players from their Stanley Cups victories in 2012 and 2014 are no longer on the roster.

“These guys know,” Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. “Edmonton, Calgary and San Jose all took a major step in terms of what their teams were. Keep up. You’ve got to keep up. There’s no question about it.”

The Kings have four games left in their season, beginning with Tuesday night against Edmonton at Staples Center.