Contract talks between the Kings and soon-to-be free-agent defenseman Rob Scuderi continue to progress at a glacial pace.
They could accelerate this weekend with the league’s entry draft on Sunday in Newark, N.J. Or maybe not.
Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi, who has been cutting a swath through his off-season to-do list, is hoping to meet with Scuderi’s camp.
“All I can say is we’re still working on it,” Lombardi said by telephone on Friday. “It’s a priority at the draft to meet with his agent.
“If we don’t have some indication on where he stands by the end of the draft, then I think we’ve got to reassess.”
What Scuderi, who will be an unrestricted free agent on July 5, wants appears murky. He declined to discuss his contract situation during the season, which was understandable. His agent Steve Bartlett said via email that discussions were ongoing and that the Kings have indicated “a strong desire” to keep Scuderi on board.
It’s difficult to tell if the feeling is mutual. Once there is clarity regarding Scuderi, the Kings can turn their attention to a host of restricted free agents, starting with the likes of left wing Kyle Clifford and defenseman Jake Muzzin.
There was also continued surprising news on another front.
“Willie Mitchell has been nothing but positive,” Lombardi said of the progress of his injured defenseman.
Mitchell missed all of this past season with lingering knee issues. His return would be a signfiicant bonus, especially if Scuderi ends up elsewhere.
Separately, Lombardi has been named to an advisory group assisting in the building of the 2014 U.S. Olympic hockey team. He served in that capacity four years ago.
Nashville’s GM David Poile will be Team USA’s general manager, and multiple media outlets have reported that Pittsburgh’s Dan Bylsma will be the team’s coach in Sochi, Russia. The appointments will be formalized at a news conference on Saturday in New York.