On Wednesday, the NHL released the tentative dates for the 2020-2021 season. How will this impact the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks?
While neither team will travel to the hub cities of Edmonton or Toronto to participate in the league’s 24-team playoff format, the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks can get a jumpstart on their offseason needs. And per reports, they’ll know when the offseason will commence as well.
Obviously, none of the above pertains to the Kings or Ducks, but the Stanley Cup Final will go no later than October 2. And hockey fans can rejoice because the 2020-2021 season will drop the puck on December 1. For those counting at home, that’s just two months of an offseason.
Under normal circumstances, July 1 is historically when teams can begin signing free agents or talking to teams about their restricted free agents. For the Kings, that means the following players will be available at the end of the league year:
- Nikolay Prokhorkin – RFA
- Austin Wagner – RFA
- Trevor Lewis – UFA
- Ben Hutton – UFA
- Sean Walker – RFA
- Joakim Ryan – UFA
And according to Spotrac, the Kings have approximately $15M in available cap space. As part of the league’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the salary cap will remain at $81.5 million for the foreseeable future or unless the NHL exceeds a hockey-related revenue of $4.8 billion.
That means the Kings will have some flexibility this offseason to improve the offense after finishing the shortened season with 177 goals, second-worst in the league.
On the other side of town, the Ducks will have to decide whether they would like to retain the following:
- Patrick Eaves – UFA
- Sonny Milano – RFA
- Jacob Larsson – RFA
- Michael Del Zotto – UFA
- Matt Irwin – UFA
- Ryan Miller – UFA
The Ducks are in much worse shape than their crosstown rivals, with an estimated $1.2M in cap space. Look for general manager Bob Murray to potentially buyout some key players in order to free up cap space. That or the players currently under contract have to step up their game, if the Ducks want to be competitive next year.
Moving Ryan Kesler to long-term injured reserve would also free up about $6.9M in cap space, so Murray can elect that option, if preferred.