Daily News Kings sign Joel Edmundson and Warren Foegele to beef up the roster


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Monday’s free-agent flurry brought a pair of new faces to the Kings, and they may be on opposite ends of the value spectrum despite being similarly priced.

After adding winger Tanner Jeannot via trade at the draft Saturday, general manager Rob Blake continued to emphasize size and truculence Monday with the additions of 6-foot-5-inch veteran defenseman Joel Edmundson and heavy, possession-oriented forward Warren Foegele.

Foegele, 28, signed a three-year contract worth $10.5 million ($3.5 million annual average value), and Edmundson put pen to paper on a four-year, $15.4 million agreement ($3.85 million annual average value).

Foegele is coming off a campaign with career highs in goals (20), assists (21), points (41) and penalty minutes (47), all while logging modest ice time. Utilized as a winger, he saw some time alongside dynamo Leon Draisaitl but primarily skated in Edmonton’s bottom six, playing under 14 minutes per game.

He broke into the NHL with the Carolina Hurricanes, giving him a competitive pedigree and playoff seasoning. He has experienced five postseasons with double-digit games played, including a run to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final last season.

He’s also a 200-plus-pound body with a knack for protecting pucks and extending plays. Jeannot’s formidable size could mesh well with Foegele and restricted free agent Quinton Byfield, who might begin the season centering the third line between those new acquisitions.

Though the Kings have been strong from a possession standpoint, they’ve lacked quality opportunities and sometimes shown a less-than-ideal willingness to cut to the middle and drive to the net. They regressed offensively and on the power play last year, and Blake’s solution seems to be to add some size and snarl.

He and Kings team president Luc Robitaille described a disconnect between the regular season and playoffs, despite the tumult and upheaval of a disappointing 82 games preceding the fizzle and abject disappointment of a hapless first-round exit.

Enter Edmundson, whom the Kings have valued at various turns and whom Blake’s senior advisor, Marc Bergevin, previously signed in Montreal. He’s now 31 years old and a brief run with the Toronto Maple Leafs, after being acquired from the Washington Capitals at the trade deadline, is fresher in anyone’s mind than Edmundson’s 2019 Stanley Cup triumph with the St. Louis Blues or his unexpected finals run with the Canadiens in 2021.

He comes off a four-year, $14 million deal, and receives a small bump in salary and security through age 35 in this pact with the Kings. That’s important to Edmundson not only because of his age but because of his injury history. He’s played 69 games or fewer in every season since he broke into the league in 2015-16. Though his 2021 campaign was remarkably healthy, missing just one game, Edmundson has played 138 of a possible 246 games since, missing an average of 36 contests per season in that stretch.

The Kings parted ways with impact winger Viktor Arvidsson, a talented player capable of competing in all situations, in part due to injury concerns, yet committed twice as many years and nearly twice as much money as Arvidsson got from the Edmonton Oilers.

While Edmundson’s role is different positionally and stylistically, it’s worth noting that his offensive value is beyond limited. That said, the Kings may seek to offset his negligible production by getting more offensive on the right side of their defense, and Andreas Englund, whose minutes Edmundson will likely eat into significantly, was a nonfactor on offense.

The draws with Edmonson are his size, shot-blocking and willingness to battle in the trenches. He also kills penalties, something the Kings likely value a bit more following the departure of Matt Roy to the Washington Capitals, and also with Englund being a peripheral penalty killer last year.

For Toronto last year, Edmundson was one of two best-available options for a club with limited cap space and a glaring need for defense, along with former Ducks defender Ilya Lyubushkin. Toronto lost to the Boston Bruins in a seven-game, first-round series for the fourth time since 2013, but both players performed to expectation in modest roles.

During the regular season, Edmunson’s shot-block total declined precipitously to 65 from 149 a year earlier, and his hits dropped from 112 to 80. While size, playoff experience and a hack-and-wack presence near the netfront sound appealing, this financial commitment might be outsized for Edmundson’s projected third-pairing role while its duration may prove lamentable for a player with his injury history.

The Kings were able to participate in free agency largely because they liberated some serious cap space on Juneteenth, when they made Pierre-Luc Dubois and his $8.5 million salary vanish in a trade with Washington.

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Yet with Monday’s events, they will now commit some $9.1 million in cap space for next three seasons to a pair of players the middling Caps recently considered expendable in Edmundson and 34-year-old goalie Darcy Kuemper, with Edmundson’s deal spanning an additional year.

In addition to their main-roster signings, the Kings also re-signed a pair of veterans for depth purposes. Pheonix Copley, who entered last year as the Kings’ No. 2 goalie but underperformed before seriously injuring his knee and undergoing surgery, will likely return to the No. 3 role he occupied prior to his callup in the 2022-23 campaign. Trevor Lewis, who played in all 87 Kings regular-season and playoff games last year, will likely get more sporadic deployment next season.

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