Injuries Hit Kings in Pocket
Although disability insurance will help the Kings pay the salaries of sidelined stars Adam Deadmarsh and Jason Allison, the injury wave that capsized the team’s playoff hopes also has wreaked havoc on the club’s bottom line.
At season’s end, only a week away after Saturday night’s 5-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks at Staples Center, the Kings will be owed nearly $1.1 million in insurance payouts on policies covering Deadmarsh and Allison.
Only the club’s highest-paid players are covered by disability insurance, however, and the cost-prohibitive policies carry a 30-game deductible.
Also, the Kings’ payroll has increased significantly because not only are they paying players who are sidelined but they have been forced to recall a number of players who might otherwise have spent the season in the minors.
Most minor league players are paid less than $300 a day, some less than $200, based on a 179-day season and a minimum annual salary of $31,500. In the NHL, the minimum per-day salary is nearly $1,000, but even players with limited NHL experience often make twice that much, if not more. The minimum NHL salary is $175,000.
“The incremental costs that we are bearing by having these players play with the Kings instead of in Manchester [N.H.] is significantly greater than these insurance proceeds -- more than double,” said Dan Beckerman, executive vice president and chief financial officer for the Anschutz Entertainment Group.
“Do we have a windfall financially because of these injuries? The answer is absolutely not. It’s actually quite the opposite.”
And that doesn’t even factor in the costs of flying the players back and forth between California and New Hampshire, and putting them up in a hotel near the club’s practice facility in El Segundo, Beckerman said.
By league mandate, each NHL team is required to cover the salary equivalent of its five highest-paid players through an insurance policy called the Temporary Total Disability Program, carried by Trustmark Insurance Co. of Chicago.
The premiums are “very expensive,” King General Manager Dave Taylor said, and the policy doesn’t trigger until after a player has been sidelined for 30 games because of a single injury. From that point, it pays 80% of the player’s salary.
In the case of Deadmarsh, who is being paid $3 million this season and by season’s end will have sat out 61 games because of a concussion, insurance will pay 80% of his salary for 31 games, more than $907,000.
For Allison, who is paid $6.5 million and will have been sidelined for 33 games because of a concussion, the policy will cover 80% of his salary for only three games. At a rate of $63,414 per game, that’s less than $200,000.
“For the number of injuries we’ve had and the salaries that we’ve had on the sidelines,” Taylor said, “it’s a small portion that we’re recouping.”
Meanwhile, the Kings’ on-ice problems continued against the Canucks, who are unbeaten in their last six games against the Kings. The Kings, winless in seven, have won only once in their last 10 games and only twice in their last 13.
League scoring leader Markus Naslund notched his 46th goal for the Canucks, who maintained their four-point lead over the Colorado Avalanche in the race for the Northwest Division championship.
Rookie Alexander Frolov scored his 14th goal for the Kings.