I have no idea what's going on with Ilya Kovalchuk and the Kings. So here's some other random thoughts. Brad Richardson's arbitration is coming up next week according to Hammer.
Unless the Kings reach agreement on a contract with Brad Richardson in the next week, he will have his arbitration hearing on July 23 in Toronto.
I have no idea what type of money Richardson is looking for but if it's anything over a million; let him walk. He made $600,000 last season. He recorded 11 goals and 16 assists and was one of the Kings most consistent bottom-six forwards. With that said, the Kings need to play this smart. They haven't signed Kovalchuk yet because they're worried about keeping their 'core' together. Richie was useful but he's not a core player. He's a bottom-six grinder that can occasionally chip in offensively. Does he deserve anything more than the 2-year, $1.8 million contract Scott Parse got? Probably not. If Richie walks, I've found his replacement. If Richie stays, I've found Fro's replacement.
Patrick O'Sullivan. He was recently bought out by the Phoenix Coyotes, who dealt for him with the purpose of clearing cap space. Is Patrick O'Sullivan the worst player in the NHL? Absolutely not, Raitis Ivanans is! During Sully's time with the Kings, he did everything Brad Richardson did but better and with more offensive upside. The chances of him developing into the player that scored 47 goals in the AHL are probably slim but he's more than capable of chipping in 20 to 25 goals consistently. In his second season in Los Angeles, he netted 22 goals and 53 points.
His -35 was a league worst last year. Besides the +/- stat being one of the most-misleading statistics in hockey, Edmonton was just plain terrible last season. O'Sullivan's 34 points last year was good enough for fifth in team scoring; Dustin Penner led the team with 63 points.
And just an FYI, Brad Richardson managed a -7 in 6 playoff games versus Vancouver.
So what am I suggesting? Sign O'Sullivan to a two-year deal worth $2-$2.5 million and slot him on the left wing alongside Michal Handzus and Scott Parse on the third-line. His two-way game was developing nicely with the Kings before he was dealt to Edmonton. He's only 25 and will be coming back to familiar surroundings with former teammates. If the Kings decide to dump the salaries of Smyth or Stoll going forward then O'Sullivan can step in and play in the top-six. It could work.
And a little bonus for Dean Lombardi in case he's reading: Denis Grebeshkov. I was always under the impression that Grebs was looking to get paid in the KHL but Pierre LeBrun reports otherwise.
There is interest from the KHL, but Grebeshkov hopes to remain in the NHL at this point. If I'm the San Jose Sharks, and the price for Tomas Kaberle is too high, I would look at Grebeshkov as a possible option -- if the price is right.
While LeBrun mentions the Sharks and Kaberle; the same can be said about the Kings and Kaberle. Trading any asset for one year of Kaberle just doesn't make sense. Regarding Grebs, I've always felt that Dave Taylor obviously sold short on him and Jeff Tambellini during his last-ditch effort to make the playoffs. And while Grebs hasn't developed into the top-pairing blueliner that he was projected to be; he's a solid second-pairing defenseman who can move the puck and quarterback the power play.
He's a safer play than hoping that Viatcheslav Voynov or Thomas Hickey can step-in and fill that role. Sign him to a similar two-year deal worth $5.5-$6 million. If a Voynov, Hickey, Muzzin, Campbell or Teubert develop quickly and are ready to step-in than you can always deal Grebeshkov. Puck-moving defenseman who can QB a power-play will always have value in the NHL (i.e.- Marc-Andre Bergeron.)
I mentioned both of these guys as possible trade targets at the Trade Deadline. Dean decided to go in a different direction. Here's to hoping the second-time's the charm. What's old is new again!