The Los Angeles Kings are doing their level best to keep the champs together next season and beyond. With only three players slated to hit unrestricted free agency on July 1, it shouldn't be terribly hard to keep the band together. They took the first step Tuesday by re-signing veteran defenseman. Matt Greene to multi-year deal. The team announced the deal early Tuesday evening. TSN's Darren Dreger reported earlier that the deal is expected to be worth $10 million with a cap hit of $2.5 million.
A few days of detail work left on Matt Greene's new contract with the LA Kings. Expected: 4 years, $10 mil...annual average of $2.5 mil.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) June 24, 2014
Greene took a slight pay cut if that is to be the terms he agrees to. The 31-year-old rearguard is coming off his second NHL contract which was a five-year, $14.75 million deal, all of which was spent with the Kings.
The veteran brings size and physicality to the Kings' blue line, but a multi-year commitment for a player who has been battling injuries the last few years could be risky for Dean Lombardi.
Greene is part of the team's leadership core as an alternate captain, but appeared in just 38 games this season and missed five playoff contests with injury or as a healthy scratch. He only played in five of the 48 regular-season games in the abbreviated 2013 season and saw action in nine playoff games.
Considered a defensive defenseman, Greene does have his limitations as he gets older and the injuries possibly slow him down. This signing also could delay the timeline for some of the Kings' prospects on defense including former first-rounder Derek Forbort and recent acquisition Brayden McNabb, who is a restricted free agent now.
At $2.5 million, the cap hit isn't going to hurt too badly, but Greene appears to be in decline as he heads into a possible deal that would take him all the way to his age 35 season.
Greene has 69 career points in 504 NHL games.
The contract agreement would show Lombardi's commitment to keep his championship squad together, though. The Kings still have Willie Mitchell, who was rather good throughout the Cup run, and Marian Gaborik to re-sign among unrestricted free agents, and Dwight King as an RFA, if they want to ice virtually the same exact roster that just won the Stanley Cup.
Fitting them all under the cap is going to take some work, but any deals have to be made with next year in mind as well. Kyle Clifford, Tyler Toffoli, Tanner Pearson and Jake Muzzin all will be due new deals, and probably decent raises after 2014-15, while Alec Martinez will become an unrestricted free agent. Those are all the young guys, but Justin Williams and Jarret Stoll also have expiring deals after next year.
It will be interesting to see what this team looks like coming out of this offseason, but the Greene contract suggests it probably won't look much different after all.