The status of defenseman Slava Voynov remains an issue for the Los Angeles Kings in the coming season. The 25-year-old is currently serving a 90-day jail sentence on a misdemeanour domestic violence charge. NBC Sports' Jason Brough reports there's local media pressure upon the Kings to part ways with Voynov.
Assuming the Kings decide to sever ties with the Russian-born Voynov, and if he isn't deported or suspended by the NHL, Brough suggests they could terminate the defenseman's contract or try to trade him.
Brough considers a trade unlikely, noting the PR consequences for any team acquiring Voynov right now. As for a contract termination, the Kings went that route in June with center Mike Richards following an incident at the Canada-US border. However, Richards hasn't been charged with anything and the NHLPA recently filed a grievance over his contract dissolution. There's no word yet as to when that hearing will be held.
Voynov's value as a skilled defenseman should ensure a roster spot with the Kings. Brough cites a report from LA Kings Insider Jon Rosen claiming those within the club's hockey operations department expect the blueliner will return to their lineup following his recovery from a ruptured Achilles.
Voynov's absence from the Kings lineup last season was among the factors leading to the club missing the playoffs last season, as they were forced to overplay top defenseman Drew Doughty. Brough notes the Kings haven't replaced departed blueliners Andrej Sekera (free agency) and Robyn Regehr (retirement), increasing the possibility of Voynov's return.
General Fanager indicates the Kings currently have over $6.3 million in salary-cap space. However, that's not including Voynov's cap hit and the full value of Richards' contract.
Voynov's return will add $4.166 million next season to the Kings' salary-cap payroll. They would still have enough cap space to add an affordable rearguard via free agency, but that could significantly change if an arbiter sides with Richards in his grievance hearing.
CAPITALS NEED BOTTOM-SIX PIVOT
The Washington Capitals had a busy offseason bolstering their depth, signing free-agent right winger Justin Williams and acquiring playmaker T.J. Oshie via trade with the St. Louis Blues. However, CSN Washington.com's J.J. Regan reports Capitals fans are concerned over the club's third-line center position since Eric Fehr's departure to Pittsburgh via free agency.
Regan believes the Capitals will try finding Fehr's replacement internally, perhaps by moving Andre Burakovsky into that role. Cap space is also an issue. The Capitals currently have less than $470K available, though the anticipated demotion of goaltender Justin Peters should free up another $950K
If the Capitals can't address that spot from within, they could seek an affordable option via free agency. Regan listed Mike Santorelli, Derek Roy and Jiri Tlusty as options. Since his column appeared on Aug. 16, the Anaheim Ducks signed Santorelli. Tlusty can play center, but spent most of his NHL career on the right wing.
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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