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Should the Kings re-sign Matt Roy?

June 10, 2024, 3:45 PM ET [10 Comments]
Ben Shelley
Los Angeles Kings Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT

Following a third straight first-round exit at the hands of the Edmonton Oilers, the Los Angeles Kings will be searching for solutions this offseason. However, with some key players in need of new contracts, the decisions begin with which current players are brought back.

The most pressing of those pending free agents is Matt Roy. A seventh-round pick in 2015, Roy has been a bit of a surprise success story with the Kings over the last five years. Holding a top-four role with the team, he’s been a steady defensive presence on the Kings’ blue line, averaging nearly 21 minutes per game this season. The team’s top-four group was heavily relied upon to carry the load this year, and Roy held up well alongside Vladislav Gavrikov. At 29 years old, the defenseman also still has quite a bit of runway left in his career.

Obviously though, the issue is that Roy is due for a big payout on his next contract this summer. In terms of what a contract could look like, I’ve predicted Roy’s next deal at HockeyComparables.com, which can be viewed below:

- ARTICLE: Projecting Matt Roy’s next contract (HockeyComparables.com)

Roy and the team were expected to discuss the defenseman’s contract situation, according to The Fourth Period’s Dennis Bernstein. However, Los Angeles is still feeling the effects of the Pierre-Luc Dubois contract from last summer, and their cap space is far from abundant. Even with the space they do have, priorities will be on bringing in a starting goalie and re-signing Quinton Byfield.

Then there’s also the Brandt Clarke/Jordan Spence issue. Spence earned a full-time role with the Kings this season and showed signs that he could become a high-end contributor, posting 24 points in 71 games while playing in a bottom-pairing role. Meanwhile, Clarke had an excellent year in the AHL, scoring 10 goals and 46 points in 50 games with the Ontario Reign.

With Spence at just 23 years old and Clarke at 21 years old, the Kings have younger, cheaper options on the right side, with higher ceilings. Re-signing Roy as a second-pairing option would not only mean there’s no room in the lineup for both Spence and Clarke, but it also blocks either of them from really growing into a larger role (especially with Drew Doughty still taking on over 25 minutes per game as well).

While Roy is a good fit with the Kings, unfortunately, there just shouldn’t be a scenario in which he’s back in Los Angeles next season. The organization has had a really hard time turning their prospects into NHL talent, and they have two defenseman capable of making a long-term impact in Spence and Roy.

Drew Doughty is turning 35 years old this December and isn’t going to be around forever. Spence and Clarke could possibly be the two defensemen who eventually take over the top-four roles on the right side of the defense group for the forseeable future, and keeping a much older Roy prevents that.

That said, Roy exiting could certainly leave the Kings with some growing pains next season. The reality is that Spence was very sheltered this season, averaging less than 15 minutes per game while facing a low quality of competition in a highly offensive role. Meanwhile, Clarke has played a total of just 25 NHL games. Obviously, both defenders could face some struggles while transitioning into a larger role with the Kings.

But it’s a scenario where some short-term pain could be required for long-term gain. With Doughty still taking on a large role, and both Mikey Anderson and Vladislav Gavrikov in place for the coming season as well, whoever takes on the larger role between Spence and Clarke in the top-four group will have support in place around them. That said, it may not be a bad move to add an experienced, bottom-pairing defender as well, to be played with whichever defender isn’t used in the top-four (but that’s a conversation for another day).

Regardless, with both Spence and Clarke ready to take the next step towards larger roles with the Kings, re-signing Roy just isn’t the ideal option. By letting Roy walk away in free agency, Los Angeles preserves cap space and takes a step towards building for more sustainable, long-term success.

In other news: in addition to the Matt Roy projection, I’m once again in the process of releasing contract projection articles for 2024 free agents at HockeyComparables.com.

Of the Los Angeles Kings’ free agents, contract projections for the following players are now listed on the site (either on the UFA or RFA projections page): Cam Talbot, Carl Grundstrom, Arthur Kaliyev, Blake Lizotte, Alex Turcotte, Trevor Lewis and Pheonix Copley.

Projection articles for the Top-50 Free Agents of the year are also being released, and projections for all other UFAs and RFAs are currently available. Articles projecting contracts for both Quinton Byfield and Viktor Arvidsson will also be released.

So for those with particular interest in contract signings, feel free to take a look. Articles will be tweeted out as they become available, via @Hockey_Comps on Twitter/X. Any follows are much appreciated!


- Season Recap: Kings fail to take a step forward
- Are the Kings making a mistake by not buying out Pierre-Luc Dubois?
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