Let the speculation begin. The Kings have nine free-agents going into the summer. Six UFA's. Three RFA's. If it were up to Helene Elliot; she wouldn't want any of them back. You can see what she says and what I think about the Six UFA's after the jump....
Alexander Frolov, $4 million; 19 goals, 51 points. The talk is he wants a new deal for $5 million per season. Have fun in Russia in the Kontinental Hockey League, Fro.
I love Frolov. His 19 goals this year, his lowest total since his rookie season certainly didn't help his case on the open market. At 27, Frolov should be entering his prime but his game remains the same. His skill set leaves you wanting more from him. He had a well-documented run-in with Terry Murray regarding his effort. Obviously Ilya Kovalchuk leads the entire UFA Class of 2010 but Frolov is second only to Ilya on the list of Left Wingers followed by names like: Whitney, Kariya, Holmstrom and Ponikarovsky. Some NHL team might give Fro $5M a year. If Fro is looking for a payday; I have to agree with Elliot and wish him well wherever he ends up.
Fredrik Modin,$3.5 million; 3 goals, 5 points in 20 games after trade from Columbus. Had moments when he was useful but not enough.
I liked Modin when we got him and I love him even more after his performance in the postseason. He did exactly what I expected. Brought some much-needed size up-front and a good shot. His health is obviously a huge concern going forward but if the Kings can get 70-75 games out of Modin next year playing with Handzus on the third-line; the Kings may have something special. I bring Modin back at the right price on a one-year deal; somewhere in the $2.25-$3M range.
Raitis Ivanans,$600,000; 0 points, 136 penalty minutes. Played more games without scoring a point than anyone in the NHL. Can't waste a roster spot on him anymore.
Statistics have indeed confirmed that Raitis Ivanans was the worst player in the NHL this season. How Ivanans managed to skate in 61 games this season is mind-boggling. He averaged 4:53 minutes of ice-time and about seven shifts a game; the only Kings player to average shifts in the single digits. There's simply no-room on an NHL roster for goons anymore. In closing, can you imagine if Ivanans put away that loose puck into the open net during the first period of Game One in Vancouver. Would have been a nice way to go out. See ya, Raitis. I won't miss you. Please don't hurt me.
Jeff Halpern, $2 million; 2 assists in 16 games after trade from Tampa Bay. Brought in for experience but proved too slow and unproductive to have impact.
Halpern didn't fit in right away and was healthy scratched but he showed in the postseason that he's a responsible forward in his own end and a decent penalty killer. With Kopitar, Handzus and Stoll locked-in; Halpern would have to settle into the fourth-line center role which is probably something neither he nor the Kings would probably want moving forward. Thank you Halpie for your month of service to the Kings. I sure hope Tedward doesn't blow up next year in Tampa Bay.
Randy Jones, $3 million; 5 goals, 21 points. Wasn't the same after a December head/neck injury. Coach Terry Murray loves him, but Jones makes too many bad reads and bad decisions.
Poor Mr. Jones. Kings fans loved this guy for 48 hours and then hated him for the remaining four months of the season. He started off his Kings career with a two-point night in Carolina including the game-winning goal and most would say it was all downhill from there. He had a decent offensive year for the Kings with 21 points in 48 games but his untimely giveaways in his own end will stick in the minds of Kings fans more than any of his five goals. With prospects like Hickey, Voynov, Teubert and Campbell waiting in the wings; it'll be tough seeing Jonesy back next year. He'll join Denis Gauthier as another former over-priced Flyer d-men sent to the AHL with a bad contract only to be dealt to Los Angeles where he's so despised by Kings fans that he's never heard or seen from again.
Sean O'Donnell, $1.25 million; 3 goals, 15 points. He was the conscience of the team and a good mentor to Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson, but too many games were too quick for him.
I've spent hours on end discussing OD with family and friends. Yes. OD is older than dirt. Yes. OD doesn't do much scoring or hitting but OD is a solid 6th-7th NHL defenseman. He's been miscast ever since he arrived for his second stint with the Kings. OD shouldn't be playing in any team's top-four and most certainly shouldn't be averaging 20 minutes a night. He's a veteran presence that'll still bring toughness, sacrifice his body and stand up for his teammates. The speed of the playoff games exposed OD's lack of foot speed; his ten giveaways were the worst of any defenseman on either team. If the Kings can acquire a top-four defenseman via trade or free agency and find a place for one or more of: Campbell, Drewiske, Hickey, Martinez and Voynov; I have no problem bringing back OD for one more year at a similar cap hit but ONLY as a 6th-7th defenseman.
I'll tackle the three UFA's in the next post...