While 2014 has so far been an eventful summer for the Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings, there is still work to be done in terms of solidifying their future. On Tuesday, a significant step forward was made as the Kings signed restricted free agents Brayden McNabb and Andy Andreoff to new contracts.
For McNabb, the defenseman signed a two-year contract while the forward Andreoff signed a one-year deal.
For some Kings fans, McNabb's arrival to Los Angeles at the March 5 Trade Deadline was met with skepticism - but it was hardly anything against the towering blueliner. Instead, fans were reticent to see prospects Nic Deslauriers and Hudson Fasching go the other way to the Buffalo Sabres. But while he wasn't the only asset the Kings received in said trade (they also acquired Jonathan Parker and a second round pick at last month's draft with which they selected Alex Lintuniemi), McNabb was the centerpiece of the deal, met with high expectations for the silver-and-black in the future. Now, with veteran Willie Mitchell having left the Kings to sign with Florida, next season may be the time when Brayden McNabb makes the jump to the big club.
At 6' 4, 205 pounds, Brayden McNabb has the ideal size that has made the Los Angeles Kings so successful over the last few years. In addition, the 23-year-old is reliable offensively (seven points in 14 games for Manchester last season), can log big minutes and even has a mean streak to boot. There is still room for improvement in terms of his defensive prowess but the same could be said for Alec Martinez and Jake Muzzin in recent years - and both have turned out fine in the big picture for the Kings.
As for Andreoff, he signed a two-way contract which means that he could spend a fair deal of time in Manchester next season. With that said, the 80th pick in the 2011 Draft will show up to training camp in September with every intention of cracking the big club's roster when the 2014-15 regular season opens. At 6' 1, 217 pounds, Andreoff does have the size that complements the Los Angeles Kings and is known to be among the next group of NHL-ready prospects.
Andreoff is a tough, agitating physical forward who has polished his two-way style over the last couple of years. In 76 games in Manchester last season, the 23-year-old scored 11 goals and added 24 assists while amassing a team-high 133 penalty minutes.
While both were inked short-term, next season should be a great test for both Brayden McNabb and Andy Andreoff who not only hope to make the big club but to stay - and make a positve impact - while there.
It is a good day for the Los Angeles Kings and their fans as two critical pieces of their team's future are staying put.