All the latest on Drew Doughty’s contract negotiations (standoff?) with the LA Kings, the Buffalo Sabres could be in the market for a salary dumping trade, and an update on Alexei Yashin.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: Helene Elliott reports defensemen Drew Doughty isn’t expected to be at the opening of Kings training camp today, as his contract negotiations continue with management. Doughty remains at home in Ontario while his agent, Don Meehan, and Kings management remain at odds over a new contract.
LAKINGSINSIDER.COM: Rich Hammond also reported Doughty is not expected to be at training camp when it opens today, as GM Dean Lombardi declined to comment about negotiations or the possibility of Doughty becoming a holdout. By all indications, the Kings aren’t willing to pay Doughty more than $6.8 million per season on a long-term deal. Hammond also pointed out Lombardi has dealt with a previous holdout of a Meehan client before, when goaltender Evgeni Nabokov did so back in 2002, which Lombardi would later attribute as one reason he would lose his job as GM of the San Jose Sharks.
TSN.CA’s Bob McKenzie last night “tweeted” the next 24 hours would be critical in negotiations between the two sides, suggesting things might get perilously close to going off the rails.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: While it’s possible this could still be resolved without dragging throughout pre-season or the start of the season, I must admit things aren’t looking good, and it’s not going to reflect well on Doughty when the Kings are offering up as much as the highest-paid player on the team on a long-term deal. I understand why the Doughty camp would prefer a shorter term, as it would qualify him sooner for UFA status and the opportunity to cash in big time, but the fans aren’t going to understand holding out for more money on a shorter term. Seven years at $6.8 million is, in my opinion, more than fair, and a holdout won’t endear him to Kings fans who are hoping their team is ready to take the next step toward Cup contention this season. It would be one thing if the Kings were deliberately low-balling him. From what I’ve read, they’re not.
A holdout, especially one which stretches into the season, will only hurt his image, not to mention provide lots of fodder for trade rumors, probably linking him to Toronto or the NY Rangers, because as we all know (warning: sarcasm ahead!), every English-speaking Canadian- born player wants to join the Maple Leafs or Rangers, just like every Quebec-born player yearns to join the Montreal Canadiens.
BUFFALO NEWS: John Vogl reports Sabres management, in the wake of re-signing Tyler Myers to a lucrative, long-term extension, will actively seek trades up to the season-opener on October 7th in order to become cap compliant. They are currently $3.6 million above the salary cap ceiling of $64.3 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No word on which players the Sabres might shop, though the best guess is forward Ales Kotalik ($3 million) and/or defenseman Shaone Morrisonn ($2.075 million).
ESPN.COM‘s Katie Strang reports Alexei Yashin recently said he won’t be attending NY Islanders training camp.