With Los Angeles Kings goaltenders Jonathan Quick and Jeff Zatkoff sidelined by lower-body injuries, there's growing speculation over how GM Dean Lombardi will address the situation. Jared Clinton notes there's talk of a trade, but points out the Kings' limited salary-cap space will hamper those efforts.
Winnipeg Jets former starting goalie Ondrej Pavelec, who's currently toiling in the minors, is seen as an obvious trade target for the Kings. However, Sportsnet's Nick Kypreos reports the 29-year-old might not be done with the Jets. He said the Jets remain unsure about their young tandem of Connor Hellebuyck and Michael Hutchinson, preferring to hang onto Pavelec as insurance.
Kypreos' colleague Elliotte Friedman said the Kings looked into the availability of Pavelec, as well as Philadelphia's Steve Mason, Florida's Reto Berra and Pittsburgh's Mike Condon. He wonders if they'll consider contacting the Anaheim Ducks about former King Jonathan Bernier.
Friedman observes the Ducks must shed salary to make room for restricted free agent defenseman Hampus Lindholm's new contract. He also said Kings goaltending coach Bill Ranford is a fan of Bernier's. For the time being, however, Friedman believes the Kings will attempt to make do with Peter Budaj and call-up Jack Campbell.
The New York Post's Brett Cyrgalis also weighs in, suggesting the New York Islanders as a potential trade partner. Noting they currently carry three goalies, Cyrgalis wonders if Lombardi could make a pitch for Jean-Francois Berube, whom the Islanders plucked off waivers from the Kings last year.
The Kings, however, only have $952,000 in cap space. That prevents them from acquiring Bernier, who's earning $4.15 million this season. Even if the Ducks agreed to pick up half of his salary-cap hit, it's still more than the Kings can afford. Same goes for Pavelec ($3.9 million) and Mason ($4.1 million). To land any of those goalies means shipping out additional salary to make room for their respective cap hits.
If necessary, Lombardi could place Quick on long-term injured reserve. That would allow him to exceed the $73 million cap ceiling to add a netminder. However, he'll have to become cap compliant when Quick returns to active duty later this season.
If Zatkoff is sidelined long-term and Budaj and Campbell struggle, Lombardi will need an affordable short-term option. Berra ($1.45 million), Berube ($675,000) or Condon ($575,000) could be his best bets.
The Kings goaltending injury woes created some trade chatter in Vancouver. The speculation suggests the Canucks ship them veteran Ryan Miller as a short-term replacement for Quick. The Province's Jason Botchford dismisses that notion, claiming Canucks GM Jim Benning doesn't want to trade the 36-year-old Miller.
Much of this Miller trade talk is based upon Jacob Markstrom's strong start to this season. Entering this week, the 26-year-old is 3-0-1 with a 1.94 goals-against average and .923 save percentage. Meanwhile, an abdominal strain sidelined Miller following the Canucks' season-opening 2-1 victory over the Calgary Flames on Oct. 15. He returned to action Sunday, giving up four goals in a 4-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks.
Botchford points out Miller's low trade value, his $6-million cap hit and the Canucks lack of a third goalie works against trading the veteran netminder. However, that hasn't stopped the local conspiracy theorists from insisting Miller will be dealt soon to the Kings.
As with Pavelec, Bernier and Mason, the Kings simply don't have the cap room to take on Miller's cap hit, even if the Canucks agreed to pick up half of it.
Rumor Roundup appears regularly only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).
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