Kings extend four qualifying offers to Anderson, Anderson-Dolan, Durzi & Vilardi

The info keeps rolling, Insiders!

The Kings announced today that they have tendered four qualifying offers in advance of the leaguewide deadline. The team extended a QO to defensemen Mikey Anderson and Sean Durzi, as well as forwards Jaret Anderson-Dolan and Gabriel Vilardi.

For those unfamiliar with qualifying offers, they are a one-year deal at a rate determined by a variety of different factors, mainly related to the previous season’s salary and games played over the last three seasons. The offer is exactly that, an offer. It is not a binding contract until the player signs it, with teams also able to negotiate their own deal with each of the qualified players. The qualifying offer retains team control and the right of first refusal to match any potential offer sheet submitted, or receive draft-pick compensation. Should the player and team agree to an extension outside of the qualifying offer, that would trump the offer itself, allowing for the potential of a one-way deal or a multi-year extension. Qualified players can also accept the offer as it is, at the predetermined rate.

No surprises when it comes to those four players being tendered a qualifying offer, listed below. Figures provided are obtained from CapFriendly, with the calculator available HERE. All offers listed will be two-way deals, with Anderson coming the closest to his offer being a one-way contract, but falling 28 games short.

Anderson – $874,125
Reason would have it that Anderson would be the least likely to sign his qualifying offer, with now two full seasons of NHL experience, playing in a top-four role on the backend, Anderson brings consistency and stability to the Kings on the blueline, with a defense-first mindset, powered by strong instincts in his own end and a short memory when it comes to recovering from mistakes. Anderson excels without the puck and excels at his own end of the rink, serving as a strong complement for Drew Doughty when both players are healthy. The organization is high on Anderson and with Adrian Kempe signed, the focus likely shifts here.

Anderson had a terrific season when looking at his possession metrics, as he saw improvements in shot attempts, scoring chances and high-danger chances, all with sizeable growth in doing so. The Kings scored 12 more goals with Anderson on the ice in 2021-22 than they did in 2020-21, with Anderson and Doughty once again forming one of the league’s top defensive pairings from the standpoint of preventing attempts and goals against. Should the two sides work out a longer deal, Anderson’s lack of offensive production over the last two seasons could keep his cap hit lower than someone who thrives the other way, but he’s certainly earned a raise coming off of his entry-level contract.

Anderson-Dolan – $787,500
Jaret Anderson-Dolan’s body of work is interesting, in that he has played NHL games now over the last four seasons, dating back to his debut as a 19-year-old back in 2018. Although he eventually returned to the junior ranks that season , Anderson-Dolan has 45 NHL games and 107 AHL games over the last three seasons, the duration of his entry-level contract. A restricted free agent for the first time, Anderson-Dolan would be waiver eligible next season, meaning he would need to crack the opening-night roster out of training camp for the first time since 2018 or be subject to waivers headed down to AHL- Ontario.

This past season, Anderson-Dolan got his first real opportunity in the top six, in addition to a couple of opportunities in the bottom six. In those chances, his metrics were solid, but he failed to collect a point in those situations. With more established centers, Anderson-Dolan played mostly on the wing in the NHL, impressing in an energy role, but not cementing his status in a scoring role. On an individual level, Anderson-Dolan’s shot attempts and scoring chances per 60 minutes were at the highest level of his career, although the sample size was small. His defensive metrics, in terms of suppressing opportunities, were also at far and away the best levels of his career, although he did not translate those metrics into production.

Durzi – $787,500
Sean Durzi was one of the most pleasant surprises across the organization this past season. Durzi made his NHL debut in November and never left, as he went on to appear in 64 regular-season games, in addition to all seven the Kings played in the postseason, all while dealing with a shoulder injury that necessitated offseason surgery. Durzi’s contract situation is an interesting one, because he had an impressive introduction to the NHL game, with 27 points from the backend, but his NHL sample size is only what we saw in 2021-22. The Kings have mentioned Durzi’s development as a reason why they felt comfortable in moving a player like Brock Faber, and the 23-year-old defenseman will have every opportunity to retain his lineup spot come training camp.

Durzi’s offensive production this season was excellent, as he trailed only Drew Doughty on the Kings in assists this season, assuming much of Doughty’s power-play time during the latter’s injury spells. Among rookie defensemen to play for the bulk of the season, Durzi was among the league leaders in scoring chances and high-danger chances for, meaning he helped to create those higher-quality opportunities when on the ice. He also struggled at times defensively, with the second-lowest goals for percentage on the Kings, although some defensive adjustments were expected moving from the AHL to the NHL. All in all, an impressive debut, with room to grow.

Vilardi – $874,125
It feels like we’ve seen a lot more of Gabe Vilardi than we have over the last few seasons, but the fact of the matter is we’re still talking about a 22-year-old player. The Kings have maintained the notion that Vilardi is a part of the team’s future, something that was questioned when he was sent to the AHL for several months, but reinforced when he was recalled and played extensively down the stretch, in addition to a pair of postseason contests. Vilardi began the transition from center to wing this season and the results were evident upon his recall to the NHL, with a breakdown here. There is a spot on the wing for Vilardi to win come September, with the onus on him to claim it with authority.

While he had a tough start to the season in the first month, Vilardi went down to Ontario, was a point-per-game player and came back as a much improved NHL player. Vilardi’s 200-foot game was much improved in his second time around, with his wallplay and defensive-zone improvements praised by the coaching staff. His offensive gifts are toward the top of those coming through the system, and he’ll need to continue to improve in that area from a production standpoint moving forward.

With those four qualified, that leaves three players as unqualified in Brendan Lemieux, Johan Sodergran and Vladimir Tkachev. While the latter two were as expected, the situation with Lemieux is a bit different. Lemieux was a regular for the Kings this season and carved out a role as an effective fourth-line player when healthy and available to play. He would have been due a qualifying offer of $1,650,000, however, and issuing him a qualifying offer would have given the player to guarantee that cap hit, which could complicate the salary cap situation a bit. The Kings have less than $5,000,000 available at this time, with an allocation of those resources needed. With no qualifying offer issued, the player and team are still able to come to an agreement and the door is not shut at this time to that happening, it could come together at a price point suitable for both sides. As of now, Lemieux will be an unrestricted free agent as of Wednesday, but a lot can potentially happen between now and then.

Coming up tonight, we’ll have a recap from Day 1 of Development Camp, provided by Jesse Cohen, who is on-site in El Segundo! I’ll be back in town tomorrow to relay information from the rest of the week!

Leave a Comment