Daily News Kings, David Rittich agree to 1-year contract extension


They see me rollin'. They hatin'.
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The Kings have re-signed goalie David Rittich to a one-year contract extension worth $1 million, the team announced in a news release Wednesday.

Rittich, also known as “Big Save Dave,” burst onto the netminding scene with the Calgary Flames at the tail end of the last decade, but found himself declining from journeyman status to that of a marginal NHL goalie before signing a one-year pact with the Kings last season that saw him start the campaign in the minors.

But like Pheonix Copley the season prior, Rittich resuscitated his pro career, first in the American Hockey League and then at the top level with the Kings. Copley began the year as the backup to Cam Talbot, but he underperformed and then sustained a serious knee injury, swinging the gate open for Rittich.

Rittich, 31, stabilized the Kings during a period when Talbot and the team struggled mightily, ultimately appearing in 24 regular-season games. Among NHL goalies with at least that many appearances, Rittich finished second in goals-against average (2.15) and tied for second in save percentage (.921).

Rittich was not made available Wednesday, nor during the exit interview period, nor after Games 4 and 5 of the Kings’ first-round loss to the Edmonton Oilers, which he started after Talbot got the nods in Games 1, 2 and 3. Rittich allowed just one goal in a shutout loss and then was saddled with a 4-3 defeat in Edmonton’s series clincher.

Rittich and Talbot were bargain-bin purchases, making less than $2 million in base salary combined last season. Talbot roughly doubled his salary in performance bonuses, however. Talbot also expressed interest in returning next year. While the Kings could explore free-agent options, most indicators point to them running it back between the pipes given their limited flexibility, as well as Talbot’s desire to return.

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Having played for six teams in the past six seasons, Talbot said on breakup day that he valued stability as well as the opportunity to pursue a Stanley Cup, which the 36-year-old has never won. Talbot said he would prefer to return to the Kings, who helped him re-establish his value after a rocky campaign with the Ottawa Senators.

“I proved that I still have a lot left in the tank, which I wasn’t always so sure about after [the 2022-23 season],” Talbot said. “To come in here and play the way I did and be a part of this group was a ton of fun. I had a great time with these guys and it ended way too early, but I would still love to be back, for sure.”

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