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LA Kings Losing Scuderi, Richardson Shouldn’t Come As A Surprise

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENCY – DAY 1: After bidding farewell to Rob Scuderi and Brad Richardson, the Los Angeles Kings welcomed defenseman Jeff Schultz to the team, signing him to a one-year deal on Day 1 of unrestricted free agency.


LA Kings newly-acquired
defenseman Jeff Schultz
Photo courtesy National Hockey League

LOS ANGELES — Day 1 of the feeding frenzy in the National Hockey League, otherwise known as unrestricted free agency, ended with what turned out to be a rather expected result for the Los Angeles Kings, who lost veteran, stay-at-home defenseman Rob Scuderi, after he signed a four-year contract valued at $13.5 million with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

In the end, family was the deciding factor for the two-time Stanley Cup winner, who will play his second stint with the Penguins, the team he won his first Stanley Cup with in 2009.

“Both [the Kings and the Penguins] have the ability to play deep into the spring,” Scuderi told the media during a conference call. “But Pittsburgh is much closer geographically to where I am from, and I thought at my age, I wasn’t going to get this opportunity again to pull the trigger on something like this.”

Scuderi is a native of Syosset, New York, and has many relatives who reside in New York.

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LA Kings Sign Slava Voynov To Six-Year Deal, But Ripple Effect Could Push Scuderi Out

LA Kings defenseman Slava Voynov signed a
six-year deal valued at $25 million on June 18, 2013.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/FrozenRoyalty.net

EL SEGUNDO, CA — The Los Angeles Kings have certainly gotten their off-season started with a bang.

On June 18, the Kings signed restricted free agent defenseman Slava Voynov, 23, to a six-year contract that is reported to be worth $25 million, a $4.17 million per season salary cap hit.

The 6-0, 190-pound native of Chelyabinsk, Russia played in all 48 regular season games with the Kings in 2013, scoring six goals and contributing 19 assists for 25 points, setting career-highs in assists and points.

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Unless Dean Lombardi’s Middle Name Is “Houdini,” 2013-14 LA Kings Will Look At Least A Bit Different

LA Kings defenseman Slava Voynov is expected
to receive a pretty hefty raise in a
new contract this summer.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/FrozenRoyalty.net

EL SEGUNDO, CA — After the Los Angeles Kings won the 2012 Stanley Cup Championship, President/General Manager Dean Lombardi made good on his promise to bring back all of his players back for the 2013 National Hockey League season, giving them a solid chance to defend their championship.

One year later, the Kings advanced as far as the Western Conference Final, but only to be stopped in their tracks by the Chicago Blackhawks. But now, Lombardi is faced with that same challenge of trying to keep his team intact.

But can he? A huge obstacle in his path is the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, which calls for a $64.3 million salary cap in 2013-14, considerably lower than the current $70.2 million.

“It’s unfortunate, the way this Collective Bargaining Agreement worked for us,” Lombardi lamented. “One of the by-products of going slowly was to be able to build this thing, and keep it together. We were clearly on that path, with $6 million in cap space this year, and we brought the whole team back.”

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Los Angeles Kings Are Holding On By A Quickly Unraveling Thread As They Face Elimination

LA Kings center Anze Kopitar, shown here during a recent practice
session, has scored just two goals in his last 33 games
(17 playoff games and 16 regular season games).
Photo: David Sheehan/FrozenRoyalty.net

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Kings are in Chicago, hours away from a win-or-go home Game 5 matchup against the Chicago Blackhawks, who lead their best-of-seven Western Conference Final playoff series, 3-1.

The Blackhawks, even without their top defenseman, Duncan Keith (suspended), used their superior speed and surprisingly strong physical play to force the Kings into numerous turnovers and to keep Kings forwards on the perimeter throughout most of Game 4, a 3-2 Chicago victory that was not as close as the score might indicate.

Indeed, the disparity in quality scoring chances fell heavily in favor of the Blackhawks, who could have easily won this game by a two or three-goal margin, if not for the strong play of Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick, even though the Blackhawks’ first goal by forward Bryan Bickell was a soft goal.

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