A day before the NHL's Free Agent Frenzy officially kicks off, the Los Angeles Kings took care of some unfinished business in terms of their own players. After it was announced that veteran defenseman Willie Mitchell likely wouldn't be back with the Kings next season, the silver-and-black had a void to fill on the blueline. With that, they have re-signed defenseman Jeff Schultz.
Despite signing with Los Angeles last July, the jury is still out on Schultz for many Kings fans. He did not play in any regular-season games for the club and only made his Kings debut this past postseason, where he took part in seven games. Schultz, however, did not record a single point but did average 18:51 of ice time in addition to racking up 14 hits and 11 blocked shots.
But while fans in Los Angeles are still unsure of what Jeff Schultz can provide, the Kings signed him relatively cheap for two years at $1.7 million ($850,000 per year). Plus, his 6-foot-6, 227-pound frame is enough to strike fear in the opposition. Having averaged two hits per game in the playoffs, the Kings and their fans are certainly interested to see just how intimidating the 28-year-old will be should he spend more time next season in Los Angeles than in Manchester, the home of the Kings' AHL affiliate.
In Manchester last season, Schultz scored two goals and added 11 assists to go along with a +10 rating in 67 games. Expect the big man to be a full-timer in Los Angeles next season.
Prior to the announcement of Schultz's signing, however, it was announced that the Kings would not re-sign Colin Fraser or Andrew Campbell.
Fraser had come over from Edmonton in the Ryan Smyth trade in 2011 but has seen his role diminish with the club in recent years. As for Campbell, the lanky defenseman who was drafted by the Kings in 2008, he only saw his first taste of the NHL this past season where he played in three games, not registering a single point.
Earlier in the day, the Kings made qualifying offers to restricted free agent Dwight King in addition to Brayden McNabb, Andy Andreoff and goaltender J.F. Berube. The Kings, meanwhile, did not give offers to Steve Qualier, James Livingston or Jonathan Parker. As a result, the latter three will become unrestricted free agents on July 1 (noon EST).