June 19th, 2013
The Kings took care of one of their biggest off-season priorities on Tuesday. They re-signed defenseman Slava Voynov to a 6 year $25 million contract. I know most of you were told there would be no math here at Jock Talk LA, however, that results in a very reasonable $4.1 million cap hit over the next 6 years.
Voynov is a 23 year old native of Russia, and is emerging as one of the best young defenseman in the league. He had 6 goals, 19 assists, and was a +5 in the shortened 48 games season this year. He also led the Kings with 6 goals and 13 points during this year’s playoff run. Voynov set Kings playoff records this year for most goals scored by a defenseman in one year, and most game winning goals in one year.
Interestingly enough, in 6 years from now, both Drew Doughty and Slava Voynov’s contract will expire at the same time. Most Kings fans should be experiencing a heart attack at that point. Still, the Kings salary cap issues this off-season pale in comparison to many other teams. The club currently has $56.7 million committed to 15 players for next season, which still leaves some room under the $64 million salary cap. Dean Lombardi’s next challenge will be trying to re-sign veteran defenseman Rob Scuderi, who has been a key cog for LA’s defense. The Kings also have 6 restricted free agents who will be due raises, along with unrestricted free agents Dustin Penner and Brad Richardson as well.
Lombardi is also shopping backup goaltender Jonathan Bernier, who has expressed a desire to be a number one goaltender for another team. There are currently about 10 teams who are interested according to ESPN’s Pierre Lebrun. One of those teams is the Flyers, who have been a frequent trade partner with the Kings.
The Kings don’t need to waste their time adding any players that are old, underachieving, or that just aren’t worth a crap anymore like Jerome Iginla, Brad Richards, or Daniel Briere. They simply need to try their best to retain as much of their current team as possible. If they can bring back Scuderi on a reasonable deal, they will maintain the strength of their team, which is defense and goaltending. That is what wins championships.