Happy Friday, Insiders!
While a bit of worry stemmed from Kings fans throughout the summer, defenseman Mikey Anderson was present and well on Day 1 of training camp, armed with a one-year contract extension.
The one-year term presented an opportunity for Anderson. An opportunity to continue to grow, an opportunity to continue to develop and an opportunity to continue to be a part of something that he believes in, which is what the Kings are building here in Los Angeles.
“For my situation personally, I looked at it as a way to build another year,” he said. “Build upon the last two seasons and even the third from the American League, another way to keep growing, developing and then re-evaluate where we’re at next year. I really like where we’re at as a group and as a team, organization wise, and I’m just very happy to be a part of it.”
Anderson’s comments fall in line with what we’ve heard from others about having trust and excitement in the vision that the Kings have set forth. His primary defensive partner, Drew Doughty, expressed confidence in the direction of the organization during his exit interview last May, with others falling in line with that viewpoint as well.
That confidence is something that allowed Anderson to put his trust in what the Kings are building, locking himself in for the 2022-23 season, while also providing additional time to continue to work towards a potential extension for the years beyond. The Kings will see an opening in the salary cap department come this offseason, with Anderson eligible for another contract again at that time, though with arbitration rights in his corner as opposed to this past offseason.
“The one-year deal kind of buys us a little more time to, like I said, build for another year, play well and try to figure out if there’s a solution we can get to as time moves on, into next year.”
Unlike Doughty, however, Anderson used representation in his contract negotiations. Doughty, as has been well documented, negotiated his own contract with Blake and the Kings when he agreed to an eight-year extension back on July 1, 2018.
Anderson is represented by Jay Grossman, who also represents Kings prospect Samuel Helenius, and noted that his agent did the bulk of the heavy lifting when it came to negotiations. Some players prefer to be very hands-on, as Doughty was, while others prefer to know next to nothing until things are ready to be formalized. Anderson trends more towards the latter, content to work through his representation and take things from there.
“For me, my agent did the bulk of it and kind of filled me in on how things [went],” Anderson explained. “You’ve got a guy like Drew who was able to do it by himself, but it’s a lot of work. You’ve got a lot of different aspects of trying to pull comparable contracts and what not to try and figure out an agreement between yourself and the team. So, from that front, it’s nice to have an agent who can be another layer of support to back you up and what you think. For me personally, I was involved, but more so just kind of getting secondhand feedback.”
While being directly involved in negotiations wasn’t something that is important to Anderson, getting a deal done before training camp got underway certainly was a priority for the Minnesota native.
As we approach the start of camp tomorrow, there are a handful of players who are still unsigned free agents around the league. Those players will not be on the ice with their teammates on Day 1. While there was concern on that front from Kings fans, the situation with Anderson never really seemed to be one that was truly concerning. The two sides used the time allotted, sure, but in speaking with Anderson, there was never a doubt that the two sides would get things buttoned up by the time Group A hit the ice in El Segundo tomorrow morning.
“You want to have a deal done before camp,” Anderson said, emphatically. “As good of shape you think you’re in and however well your summer training goes, camp is camp and it’s going to be a grind no matter what. It’s something you want to be a part of for your own personal well being, just to be in shape, be ready to go for the year, but also it’s the first two weeks the team’s together and you kind of start building the model of the team. Uou get to be in the room and figure out what it’s all going to be like. It is, from my personal standpoint, a very important two weeks to be a part of and I’m very happy that we were able to find something and get it done before camp started.”
The other important to clarify from the interview is that Anderson was sure to note that he wants to be here long term, despite the short-term extension he signed earlier this month.
For a few of the reasons spelled out above, Anderson is taking this year as an opportunity to continue to grow and develop upon the strong, defensive front he’s already established. Though he will once again be a free agent come next summer, he’ll still be restricted and in his mind, he’s hopeful to remain as a part of the Kings organization for the foreseeable future.
“I love it out here, I love the way the team is going, the organization, the way we’re moving,” he said. “The city, the arrangements of living out here and the group of guys we’ve got, I would love to be here as long as I can.”
With Day 1 now in the rearview mirror, we’re getting geared up to begin Day 2 of LA Kings training camp.
The formatting today is nearly identical to yesterday’s sessions, at least in terms of timing and alignment, though the order of the groups and the individuals in each group are different than what we saw yesterday. Group B kicks us off at 10 AM, with a bit of a different look and feel to it, and away we go.
Day 2 Schedule
• 10:00 a.m. – Group B Practice
• 10:50 am – Scrimmage, Groups A & B
• 12:25 pm – Group A Practice
• 1:00 pm – Group C Practice
As was the case last season, we’re looking at some changes to the groups between Days 1 and 2 and we could expect to see additional changes again tomorrow, between Days 2 and 3. A few veteran players – namely Drew Doughty and Phillip Danault – will skate with Group C this afternoon and will not participate in the scrimmage session. Expect to see players rotated in and out here at the start of camp, giving different players different opportunities, and different alignment.
Here’s how the Kings will line up today –
Kevin Fiala – Anze Kopitar – Adrian Kempe
Alex Yafallo – Quinton Byfield – Arthur Kaliyev
Lias Andersson-Nate Thompson-Gabe Vilardi
Austin Wagner – Akil Thomas – Tyler Madden
Sean Walker – Matt Roy
Tobias Bjornfot – Jordan Spence
Jacob Moverare – Helge Grans
Trevor Moore- Rasmus Kupari- Samuel Fagemo
Brendan Lemieux – Blake Lizotte – Carl Grundstrom
Jaret Anderson-Dolan – Samuel Helenius – Martin Chromiak
Taylor Ward – Riley Fiddler-Schultz – Jacob Doty
Mikey Anderson – Cameron Gaunce
Alex Edler – Brandt Clarke
Kim Nousiainen – Landon Kosior
Francesco Pinelli – Phillip Danault – Aidan Dudas
Justin Nachbaur – TJ Tynan – Brett Kemp
Kaleb Lawrence – Eric Alarie
Angus Booth – Drew Doughty
Cameron Supryka – Sean Durzi