LOS ANGELES—The Kings announced on Friday, July 10 that they have issued one-year contract extensions to defensemen Kevin Gravel and Paul LaDue and forward Michael Mersch. Additionally, forward Jonny Brodzinski closed a two year extension with the Kings.
Gravel, 25, who was a restricted free agent, hails from Kingsford, Michigan, standing at 6 feet and 4 inches tall and weighs 212 pounds. He was selected by Los Angeles as the 148th overall pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft and began his career with the franchise in 2013, playing for the Manchester Monarchs (the Kings’ former AHL affiliate).
Gravel, whose new contract has an AAV of $650,000, was called up to 49 games with Los Angeles this past season, up from the previous season during which he was only called up to five. He collected seven points (one goal and six assists), six penalty minutes, and a plus-3 rating. He posted his first NHL point on November 8, 2016 against the Toronto Maple Leafs and scored his first goal (and only thus far) on February 23, 2017 against the Boston Bruins. In six games with the Ontario Reign this past season, he had two assists which comprise two points.
In 54 total NHL games, Gravel holds the seven points he attained last season along with his six penalty minutes and plus-3 rating. During the 2014-2015 season, Gravel contributed to the Monarchs’ Calder Cup win, having skated in 19 playoff games with five assists (constituting five points) and a plus-2 rating.
The 24 year-old, Grand Forks, North Dakota native, LaDue signed a one-year contract extension with an AAV of $874,125. He spent three seasons with the University of North Dakota before joining the Kings organization in his final season with UND. The 6 foot and 2 inch, 201 pounder appeared in 123 collegiate-level games and totaled 62 points (16 goals and 46 assists), 68 penalty minutes, and a plus-53 rating. During the 2015-2016 season, he helped lead the Fighting Hawks beat (top-seeded) Quinnipac University and win the NCAA National Championship.
LaDue was selected by the Kings in 2012 as the 181st overall draft pick. Last season, he made his NHL debut with the team. While playing for the Ontario Reign, he was called up to 22 games with the Kings. He registered eight assists for a total of eight points along with four penalty minutes. In the 2015-2016 season, his rookie season with the Reign, he played in 38 games and registered 18 points (six points and 12 assists) and 28 penalty minutes. During a recall on February 1, 2016, he tied for first in goals and third in assists amongst Ontario defensemen. Of all rookie defensemen in the AHL, he ranked fifth in goals, tied for ninth in assists, tied for eighth in points, and tied for second in power play goals.
Mersch, 24, hails from Park Ridge, Illinois and was selected by Los Angeles 110th overall in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. His one-year deal has an AAV of $650,000.
Before the NHL, he played four seasons with the University of Wisconsin. As a senior he was selected to the All-Big Ten First Team. That same year, he joined the Kings franchise, playing for Manchester. While helping the Monarchs reach the 2015 Calder Cup, Mersch tied for first in the AHL in points and placed second in the AHL for goals, first among rookies. The 6 foot and 2 inch tall, 213 pound left winger made his NHL debut with the Kings in 2015. In 17 games, he collected three points (one point and two assists).
Last season, Mersch registered 33 points (16 goals and 17 assists) and 46 penalty minutes in 48 regular-season. He was absent for half of January and all of February after sustaining a knee injury. He returned to the ice for the Reign’s postseason run, appearing in all five games and posting three assists to constitute three points. On the team, he tied for first in assists and tied for third in points.
To date, Mersch has made 183 regular-season AHL appearances. He holds 124 points (64 goals and 60 assists), 99 penalty minutes, and a plus-37 rating. In a total of 40 AHL postseason games, he has tallied 32 points (15 goals and 17 assists), 14 penalty minutes, and a plus-14 rating.
Brodzinski, 24, closed a two-year extension with Los Angeles, which has an AAV of $650,000. The Ham Lake, Minnesota-born, 6 foot and 1 inch, 218 pound center was originally selected by Los Angeles 148th overall in the 2013 NHL Draft. He played in his first professional game on March 25, 2017 against the New York Rangers. In a match against the Edmonton Oilers on April 4, 2017, he posted two assists which constituted his first two NHL points. He also had two penalty minutes and a plus-2 rating.
Brodzinski made 59 regular-season appearances with the Reign last season as well. He collected 49 points (22 goals and 27 assists), 12 penalty minutes, and a plus-3 rating. In five postseason games, he added four additional points (two goals and two assists), two penalty minutes, and a plus-1 rating. He currently has a total of 124 regular-season AHL games under his belt in which he collected 77 points (42 goals and 35 assists), four penalty minutes, and a plus-3 rating. In nine postseason games, Brodzinski tallied seven points (four goals and three assists), 14 penalty minutes, and a plus-14 rating.
During a recall to the Kings in March 2017, it was announced that Brodzinski exceeded the team in goals, points, and power play goals with nine. He ranked fourth on the team in assists.