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June 20. 2012 11:09PM

Kings tender offer to seven players

Several key members of the Manchester Monarchs could be remaining in the organization after seven qualifying offers were made Wednesday.

The Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings announced that offers were sent to restricted free agents Dwight King, Justin Azevedo, Andrew Campbell, Thomas Hickey, Stefan Legein, David Meckler and Jake Muzzin.

Ray Kaunisto was not sent an offer and will now be an unrestricted free agent.

Teams are required to extend a one-year qualifying offer to any restricted free agent by June 25 in order to receive the right of the first refusal or draft choice compensation should that player sign an offer sheet with another NHL club.

Players can either sign the offer or reject it and remain a restricted free agent.

There are rumors that one or more of those players tendered offers might be heading to Europe to play, but most of the seven should be back, and of that eventual number most would be in Manchester next season.

“I think it’s really important for us to have players that have that experience and success in Manchester,” said Monarchs head coach Mark Morris. “They are all character guys and a big part of our team.”

King was called up from the Monarchs in February and helped the Kings in the playoffs. His days in Manchester are likely over.

Of the other six players, several have a chance to move up to L.A. next year, Hickey perhaps most of all.

Last week, the Kings announced that Monarchs captain Marc-Andre Cliche and fan favorite Rich Clune were both signed to two-year contract extensions.

“I had the opportunity to say congratulations to Cluner and Cliche that they are still in the plans of the Kings,” Morris said. “Whether in L.A. or Manchester, that’s a lot of character there. They’ve always done everything asked of them and they are ideal players.”

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Ian Clark may be reached at iclark@unionleader.com.


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