What Does The Future Hold For Jarret Stoll?

Howard Roark is a guest writer at S&S and has made many contributions to our site in the past. Today, he brings you an issue we prodded on August 18 about next summer and, specifically, the future of Jarret Stoll. Enjoy.

While Kings’ fans anxiously await perhaps the most anticipated season in the franchise’s history, it is not too early to look ahead at what may happen next offseason. Obviously, the on ice performance of the team and players will have a huge impact on upcoming decisions, but players, at the end of the day, are human beings after all and how they are treated today can greatly impact their performance tomorrow.

This leads us to one of the key decisions that needs to be made soon, specifically the future of center, Jarret Stoll. Stoll has had a respectable career in Los Angeles, averaging 18 goals and 44 points over his three seasons here. Defensively responsible, well above average in the face off circle and above average speed are assets that make Stoll a valuable contributor to the Kings. An added bonus has been his durability which was questioned when he first arrived here given his history of concussions. Stoll played all 82 games last season and averaged 77 games per season during his tenure in purple.

The issue for Dean Lombardi as he looks at his future roster is whether Stoll is overpaid for his contribution. With a $3.6 million cap hit, he is the fifth highest paid forward on the team. When one takes into account that the Jarret Stoll many of us have come to respect over the past three seasons is all he likely is ever going be, a pay cut would seem appropriate. Moreover, it is certain that Stoll, though still playing a critical role as our shut down center and primary face off specialist, is going to see his responsibilities narrowed given the acquisition of Mike Richards. This will almost certainly be true both on the power play where it is hard to envision Stoll on the first unit and on the penalty kill where Richards has established himself as elite and Trevor Lewis has started showing the occasional flashes of brilliance.

So where does that leave Jarret? This season, he is probably slotted into a role perfectly suited to his abilities. Unfortunately, he will finish his current contract on the wrong side of 30. Working in his favor is that there is no obvious replacement in the pipeline. The Kings’ best center forward prospect, Andrei Loktionov, is better suited to a top six role and lacks the grit and defensive instincts that Stoll has. Trevor Lewis is a possibility, but he will need to take another big step in his development before he can be thrust into this critical role. No other prospects have, as of yet, proven they are anywhere near ready to play solid third line center minutes in the NHL. The good news is S&S have heard Stoll wants to remain in Los Angeles. Who can blame him when many Hollywood starlets have shown a distinct preference for hockey players, and Jarret has shown a willingness to, let’s just say, oblige them.

So it seems that there could be the basis for a deal here. What deal?

Jarret Stoll likely wants the security of years since this will be his last big contract. Four years may make sense for both sides given Stoll will be 33 in the final year of such a deal. Finding exact comparables in terms of salary is always difficult given different salary structures and the varying ages of players. The high-end for third line centers is Dave Bolland (Jordan Stall is a second line center playing on the third line) at $3.375 mm, but he has a ring and is only 25 with potential upside still remaining. Michal Handzus, whom Stoll is replacing, is at $2.5 mm and is older and slower. Beyond that, there are not many third line centers in the NHL making more than $2 mm and some, on the low-budget teams, earning considerably less. A deal paying Stoll $3 mm, $3 mm, $2.5 mm and $2.5 mm for a cap hit of $2.75 mm could work well for both sides. Stoll gets some security while the Kings lower his cap hit by almost $1 mm a year. Not bad for a potentially great third liner who can step up and play top six minutes in a pinch.

The alternative is to do nothing now and watch to see how Trevor Lewis develops. If he takes the requisite step forward, Stoll might be expendable although I can’t see the Kings, if they are in contention, dealing him anywhere during the season. If Lewis fails to step up, the Kings can always negotiate during the season. The risk here is that Stoll has a big year and/or plays a key role on a team contending for the Cup. At that point, with UFA status and a potentially big pay-day, the price may go up. My guess this is the strategy Dean Lombardi employs much like with Justin Williams last season. Since he is playing for a contract, we should see the best of Jarret while we watch Trevor Lewis’ progress. Competition, in capitalism and hockey, is a good thing. GO KINGS!



Categories: L.A. Kings News

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17 replies

  1. I think it would be a mistake to not re-sign Stoll. Stoll is an excellent third-line center on a contending team and he makes perfect sense for this team. He’s made a couple of appearances this summer (touring Richards around LA) and it’s pretty clear he wants to stay. Not to mention he’s absolute money on the shoot outs.

    • I concur, I would have typed that exact same thing.

    • Plus, he is the only player in the league with a deeper V-neck than Pheneuf! Best hair and sharpest jaw on the team. Gotta be worth something….. if ur into that stuff? Haha

  2. I basically agree with you. But, the cap hit has to come down. The key date is at the end of the 2013 when either Quick or Bernier will be getting a big pay day.

    • I think 2.75 for Stoll is a steal… faceoffs, two-way player, speed, grit, shootout sniper… A lot of teams would be lucky to have him as a second line center.

  3. Lewis (although very much a part of the Kings future) is not a substitute for Stoll. His faceoff % alone would bare that out, and Lewis lacks experience. Even if Trevor gains more this year, it wouldn’t make up for the loss of Stoll next year. If Stoll see’s a chance to win a cup here, he might even take a 5-10% raise for 2-3 years (something like Williams, who took a modest raise in pay to have security) which would be manageable.

    Also (maybe I’m reading it wrong) Stoll isn’t going to finnish his current contract on the wrong side of 30. He’s currently entering his prime years, and we only have him for 1 more of those years. If he improves over previous years, the Kings would be fools to let him walk, because the next 3 or 4 years will be his best, and his veteran leadership (for being under 30) is very valuable.

  4. Remember he is very good at the shoot out too.

    I would keep him around for the right price.

  5. Stoll must not be lost.

    Kidnapped, handcuffed, locked in a cage, fed beer and raw meat, only allowed out at game time — anything to keep him in a Kings uniform.

    The guy plays all the ice, both sides of the puck, is our best face-off man, routinely gives us 40+ points per season, plays 5-on-5, PP and PK minutes, is William Tell in shoot-outs (ask yourself whether we would have even made the playoffs without the extra points Stoll got us in those shoot-outs last season), and — to top it off — is a character guy as well.

    Ah ree-it-erates: Stoll must not be lost.

    • This is what I meant to say above about the shoot out. The Kings have been offensively challenged and a fair number of games were pulled out with shoot out wins with Quick and Stoll. Probably would not have made the playoffs without him.

      The guy seems to love living in the area. He built a beautiful place in Manhattan Beach. Seems happy here. Good for him.

  6. 9 for 10 I think? Thats outstanding and a great guy to have on your team if you want to secure that extra point.

  7. … I think it’s a situation where we need to know what we have in Stoll once the role change is put into effect. He’s a very adequate second-line center, but does that translate over to a very adequate third-line center? Not necessarily.

    I’ve been a basketball fan for a long time … and one of the sayings we have is “there are guys who get rebounds, and then there are rebounders” It works the same way for third-line players … there are guys who can contribute defensively, and then there are defensive players. Stoll has been a guy who can contribute defensively – and it remains to be seen whether he can re-invent himself into a defensive player.

    I think that fans need to consider that Stoll is only 29 years old. I’m not sure if Jarret is too happy to move to a role that will probably cut his point production in half, and that would be the sacrifice he would have to make in order to contribute as a defensive center on the 11-12 Kings. His PP time would go way down, and his PK time up. With the loss in offensive production, he might be wondering if he would suffer a proportionate loss in perceived value at contract time.

    His cap hit is $3.6 million now. I would imagine that he’d be looking for something at around a million per year more, for about four years. After all, Handzus made $4 million a year on his deal, right? It’s something that will have to be addressed, and frankly I think that if Stoll feels he can be a second-line center for another team (which he certainly can) and make more money instead of staying on the shutdown line and making less for the Kings, he might be moving on.

    Obviously, winning affects everything. The Kings don’t really have a leg to stand on with regards to asking players to take less money in order to keep everyone together unless they actually see some real success in the postseason. It can’t be another one-and-done.

  8. Stoll will get around $4 million as an UFA. I don’t see him taking a huge pay cut to stay in LA, maybe he would sign for around what he is currently making: $3.4-$3.7 million per.

    Unless Dean is willing to give him a “retirement” contract (and you don’t sign Stoll to a 10 year deal), I don’t see a cap hit below $3.2 million.

  9. I like him but I think his days are likely numbered. We’ve got two first line centers already and a bunch of talent waiting for their chance. Unless he comes at good value I think he’ll be gone.

  10. I love Stoll,he plays hard,great face-off man… Great shootout and PP/PK man….Right after the season begins i wouldn’t waste anytime letting him know that we want him back,re-signing him at least for 2 years

  11. I like Bolland as your “comp” for Stoll – in calculating the money. He’ll start this season on 2d line, then move to 3rd when Hawks trade for another center as teams start falling out of races. In the meantime, they’re comfortable with him there. The skill sets are not identical (I like Stoll’s offense better, and Bolland’s defense), but they have similar values to their teams, and both “rise to the occasion” in big games (I’m speaking strictly on-ice performance, lads). Bolland is probably closer to being what we think of as a “shut-down” 3rd line centerman – he comes back from injury a game earlier last year and VAN goes down in the 2d rd. Stoll maybe is more like a 2d line centerman, and that could be the problem. Of course, there is no rule against a third line looking like the King’s second line of last year and then a “shut-down” 4th line, but why even say such things in the TM era?

  12. If we lose Stoll, I’m willing to step up and oblige, as far as goes the Hollywood starlets’ interest in hockey players. I know it’s not easy, but someone’s gotta do it, and I don’t see any other available contenders on the current roster.

    Pencil me in, TM.

  13. He fits the culture…….what role does he see for himself, That’s the question

    Great points by every one……..not sure if Stoll conciders his game to be 2nd line center, and I don’t believe he was the regular 2nd line center for Edmonton the year we got him. Points are not and have not be Stoll’s strength, this 3rd line role, the amount of ice time it get’s, and where he fit’s WILL make L.A. his primary choice.

    Sure we got some kids at center that are knocking on the door, but Stoll plays hard and gets injuries for a few games, and when the important games, faceoffs and line adjustments are made, He will be our go to guy.

    I have not been a Huge Stoll fan over the last 3 seasons, but he was placed in the 2nd line center role where neither he or Handzus FIT. Even with Handzus’s age and decrease of speed and offence, He may have been one of the King’s Best 3rd line centermen I can remember cheering for . And if both their contracts were to be addressed this past summer, I myself would of still been leaning towards Handzus, even though Stoll ( With the help of Quick ) got us into the playoff’s this season with his shootout wizardry.

    I think the Handzus 2.5 Mil contract, at his age set’s the bar for what Jarret should expect, but in his natural 3rd line role, How he does this season, may set the length.

    15 mil for 5 years , what d0 you say Jarret??

    Bonus for teaching Lewis, Lokti, Czarnik and Andreoff faceoff techniques per increase of their faceoff percentage…….

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