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Rob and I, Chapter 1

Posted by Ark_Razor on August 30, 2017 at 8:15 PM

August 25, 2017

Mr. Rob Blake

General Manager

Los Angeles Kings Hockey Club

300 N. Continental Blvd Ste #500,

El Segundo, Ca 90245

Dear Mr. Blake:

I have been a full season holder to the club since 1982. I used to write Mr. Lombardi 1-3x per year.

This is my first missive to you. Before, I get any further, let me clear the air; so you know where I stand.

I did not like your conduct surrounding your departure in 2001. I did not like you coming back to play in 2006. I don’t feel your play justified your 2 x 6.0 contract from 2006-08. I did not like you coming back to be AGM, and I did not like you being named as GM.

You are deserving to be in the Hall of Fame though and you were deserving of the Norris Trophy in 1998.

Despite my issues, I am also convinced that you are trying to make the club better. I have doubts about your ability to do this, but I also have agreed with 4 of the 5 major personnel moves you have made since your ascendance to power and only disagreed with one (Cammalleri signing, Kuemper signing, Bishop trade, Toffoli extension, Pearson extension being the five). My assessments are made on the basis of value surrendered to get these things done. I do not know about the Stevens hiring as I have no opinion of it one way or the other.

I am hoping you prove my doubts wrong. Dan Beckermann said, “With the core players we have in place, we should be contending each year for the Stanley Cup.”

If you toss this letter, I understand; but we do both share a desire to see the Kings improve and hopefully capture a 3rd Cup. I can work with that.

I have two points to make in this letter.

#1. Get Gabriel Vilardi signed. Everybody has to sign an ELC. So everybody is looking a 3 x 0.925- at least for the top half of 1st round draft picks, on a two-way deal. The only issues are the performance bonuses b/c signing bonuses are limited to 10% of the 0.925 anyway.

I get that Gabriel “fell” lower than what he thought he was going to go. He was ranked 4th by NHL Central scouting for N.A. skaters. Four other N.A. skaters went ahead of him (Makar-D, Glass, Rasmussen, and Tippett).

Let’s look at the Performance Bonus Table on the next page.

Performance Bonus by Year ($m)

# Player (Pos) Team Y1 Y2 Y3

1 Hischier (F) NJD 2.850 2.850 2.850

2 Patrick (F) PHI 2.650 2.650 2.650

3 Heiskanen (D) DAL 2.500 2.500 2.500


5 Pettersson (F) VAN UNSIGNED

6 Glass (F) VGK 0.850 0.850 0.850

7 Andersson (F) NYR 0.850 0.850 0.850

8 Mittelstadt (F) BUF UNSIGNED

9 Rasmussen (F) DET 0.750 0.850 0.850

10 Tippett (F) FLA 0.500 0.850 0.850

11 Vilardi (F) LAK UNSIGNED

12 Necas (F) CAR 0.575 0.575 0.575

13 Suzuki (F) VGK 0.425 0.425 0.538


15 Brannstrom (D) VGK 0.450 0.450 0.450

16 Valimaki (D) CAL 0.425 0.425 0.425

17 Liljegren (D) TOR 0.400 0.400 0.400


Even if he argues he should be 7th instead of 11th, we are talking about a maximum difference of 3 x 0.85 v 3 x 0.575 (Necas). I also realize that he might be arguing the performance bonuses should be easier to meet than what you are proposing. I think you give the guy 0.500-0.575/0.850/0.850 and be done with it. We’ve got 6.8 mil in cap space for the season with two roster spots to be filled. These are likely going to be Reign players. We are talking about an incremental cap hit of 0.37% that can be rolled into next season, if necessary, for a likely roster player this year. Are you going to play hardball over that?

If he’s playing hardball beyond the 0.850, then you did not do your homework well enough before the draft. The clock is running on our two years of draft control. Year 1 effectively ends on 12/1. The three teams that have not signed their 1RDP above us are clubs that are in rebuilding mode. One can also argue that they are currently dysfunctional franchises. Do we want to be viewed in the same boat?

#2. Approach Andreas Athanasiou and sign him to an offer sheet. The days of this collusion “gentlemen’s agreement” among GM’s are going to come to an end at some point. After Lombardi got fired 3 years after winning two Stanley Cups, someone is going to wake up and realize they might as well try to win even if it means making enemies. Most of the enemies that a GM will make will be gone from their positions by the time any retribution comes, if it does come, anyway. If GM’s are willing to give up high draft picks for mere rentals, they should be willing to give up draft picks for long-term talent. In this case, we don’t even to give up draft picks, just a pick.

AA is not UFA until the end of the 2022 season. You could sign him to a 5 year deal and you wouldn’t even be eating up any of his UFA years, so he might go cheaper. How much? That’s the $64,000 Q isn’t it.

I understand the issue of comparables on the club for our guys still RFA. Pearson 4 x 3.7. Toffoli 3 x 4.6. Personally, I think 5 x 3.0 would do it. Heck, even 3 x 3.0. We would only have to give up a 2RDP. If DET matches, then they match. However, they are in a world of cap hurt right now and probably only want to pay him 2.0 at the max. He’s thinking about going to the KHL. Don’t you think he’d be interested in staying in North America?

I would argue his metrics are somewhat flawed b/c he plays on a bad team, but he does score goals. He doesn’t get a lot of ice time. We’ve got 13 players on the roster whose names are on the 2014 Cup. They can work on whatever attitude and all-around game issues he might have. Remember his goal when he torched our D last season at Staples? Did you see his end-to-end goal against Pittsburgh last season? We can pay him up to $3.8 and only give up a 2RDP. Heck, he might even want a shorter deal.

So, there is my $0.02 before training camp.

I would love for you to prove me wrong. I will gladly admit it if so.

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Reply Radatz
10:16 PM on August 30, 2017 
My Dear Ark,

Stuff it.

Rob Blake
Reply Ark_Razor
10:40 PM on August 30, 2017 
Radatz says...
My Dear Ark,

Stuff it.

Rob Blake

Lol. It's a letter he's not going to forget though, and he knows it's not an ignorant ranting fan that wrote him.
Reply Galfur
7:04 AM on August 31, 2017 
Please write a letter to Ken Holland for Vap and I.
Reply vapor5
8:19 AM on August 31, 2017 
Galfur says...
Please write a letter to Ken Holland for Vap and I.

Reply theknightswhosay
10:24 PM on September 1, 2017 
I'm not really sure the "things Ark did not like" section gave you a sympathetic ear.
Reply Ark_Razor
10:55 PM on September 1, 2017 
I needed to get his attention, and I owed it to him to be honest. Good leadership should be able to face measured criticism. My first letter to his predecessor, Dean Lombardi, was also critical- but not as critical. He phoned me twice and sent me a couple of written correspondences.
Reply the immortal scurds
5:27 PM on September 3, 2017 
i'm going to assume rob blake doesnt understand any of this, and will rely on the dump n chase cycle the puck approach to gming
Reply Stevemab
9:03 PM on September 8, 2017 
Find out what you need to improve in yourself to become more effective!

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