Daily News Kings lose Matt Roy, Viktor Arvidsson in free agency


They see me rollin'. They hatin'.
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Matt Roy evolved from an NHL longshot to a Kings mainstay and Viktor Arvidsson gave every ounce of his small but mighty frame to the franchise across three seasons and two back surgeries.

On Monday’s opening of free agency, both men moved on to other organizations, with Roy inking a six-year, $34.5 million deal with the Washington Capitals and Arvidsson entering into a two-year, $8 million pact with the rival Edmonton Oilers, who’ve eliminated the Kings in three consecutive postseasons.

Arvidsson, a 31-year-old winger, missed much of the 2023-24 season following a surgical procedure similar to the one he had in 2022, which cost him the entire seven-game series against Edmonton that year. The Kings won 13 of 18 games in which Arvidsson dressed last season, when he continued to provide aggression, energy, skill and a right-handed-shooting weapon up front.

Even with their acquisitions over the weekend and Monday, the Kings remained without much in the way of right shots up front, especially potent ones that had power-play capability like Arvidsson.

His $4 million annual average value represented a slight dip from the $4.25 million he earned on his previous contract, including his three campaigns with the Kings. As it stands, Kevin Fiala will likely skate in Arvidsson’s spot on the second line, though there’s no prolific third-liner to take Fiala’s place at this point.

Roy’s departure was better insulated but also more poorly planned. The right defenseman’s $5.75 million AAV was in line with most projections and the six-year term reflected that of a player in his late 20s seeking the most possible security for what figures to be the most lucrative contract of his career. He had grown from a seventh-round pick into a player voted the Kings’ best defenseman in 2022.

“Matt is a steady right-handed defenseman who plays important minutes against the opposition’s top players and is extremely responsible in his own end,” Washington general manager Brian MacLellan said in a statement. “We feel his addition will help strengthen our blueline for the next several years.”

The Kings have a clear successor for Roy in top prospect Brandt Clarke, and Roy’s exodus may also open up more ice time for Jordan Spence, assuming the restricted free agent were to return next season.

Yet the Roy saga’s conclusion highlighted another missed opportunity for the Kings. Defensemen and particularly right-handed-shooting ones are coveted at the trade deadline, and there was an arms race in the West as well as some aggressive clubs, like the Carolina Hurricanes, in the East.

To let Roy walk for nothing after winning just one playoff game was a miscalculation that likely cost the Kings substantial assets, all while they left their most offensive-minded prospect to languish in the minors during a first-round series where they were lopsidedly overmatched on the power play.

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That sequence of events comes on the heels of hastily jettisoning Sean Durzi for questionable value – Durzi signed a six-year, $36 million extension with Utah HC on Sunday – and outright disposing of Sean Walker last summer, only to see him traded as part of a deal for a first-round pick a few months later.

While the Kings’ core defensemen may have gotten more offensive-minded, its depth components are more rugged than ever. Andreas Englund remains under contract for next season and the Kings now have a right-side counterpart for the aggressive rearguard in Kyle Burroughs, whom they acquired via trade from San Jose over the weekend.

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