THW's Andrew Knoll takes a look at the King's Cap situation:
LOS ANGELES- With the Los Angeles Kings dropping nine of their last eleven contests, many hockey fans are wondering about the teamís immediate moves and future foundation.
While it remains to be seen if any major shakeup will transpire this season, followers of the Kings can rest assured that the recent extension of Jack Johnson and a bundle of manageable contracts ensure that the team will have plenty of opportunities to attract, retain and integrate talent in the years to come.
While I think we'd be hard-pressed to find a team with more flexibility, that's sort of deceiving because a team like say Philadelphia or Vancouver has all their pieces in place and most of them nailed down.
That said, I think $19.4 is quite a bit to toy around with given that there are two guys that are for sure going to be brought back and with pay raises. Say Doughty and Simmonds eat up a combined $9M in salary (a middle-of-the-road estimate), that's still $10M to spread around and there needn't be much concern about the future with Schenn or any other promising young guys that come into the fold.
The guys that will be coming back likely--Martinez, Lewis, et al--are not going to be big-ticket players. You bring back that aforementioned four, Loktionov and Schenn come up and now you've got around $6M left to fill four or so slots, possibly more if guys get dealt or bought out to transfer some of the 2012 latitude into the 2011 offseason.
Somewhere here I think a window can open to invest heavily in a veteran in the short run and leave wiggle room to lock down Schenn, whichever of the two goalie emerges as a long-haul stud, etc.
Of course this is all speculative but it's informed speculation at least.
Danny Duberstein is good at two things ...