Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Los Angeles general manager Dean Lombardi said via email that he had his initial planning meeting with Kings cap whiz Jeff Solomon on Wednesday to start looking at what's ahead for them.
"We are back at the drawing board now with Kopitar being done," Lombardi said.
If the Kings can't make it work with Lucic, so be it, the winger says he'll go into the free-agent market with an open mind and expect the unexpected.
But he stressed again that he hopes to make it work contract-wise in L.A.
It feels right with the Kings. And maybe that's because he's gone from a Boston team that contended for years and won a Cup in 2011, to another contender. It's all about winning and that's all Lucic knows in his DNA.
"I think it's made it so much easier on myself, coming into a place where the team already is an established winner expected to do well," Lucic said.
from Jon Rosen of LA Kings Insider,
There are five forwards on this Los Angeles Kings team who average over a minute per game in both power play and shorthanded play this season: Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter, Tyler Toffoli, Dustin Brown and Tanner Pearson.
Four of the five players have earned at least 20 points this season. And then there is Brown, the fifth, who has produced lukewarm numbers since potting 18 goals in 46 games in 2012-13. Through 44 games this season, Brown, who has played a team-best 139 consecutive games, has four goals and 14 points.
“Brownie is now where it’s about winning,” Darryl Sutter said. “He accepts his role … but he’s got to perform at a high level in that role. As I said, if you want it to last for a long time, then you’ve got to play really well in that role.”
That role has been to provide hard energy – “We need him in a real strong checking role and a physical role,” Sutter said – and he has mostly done so in his all-situational play. His five-on-five possession rates are the best they’ve ever been, and 2:55 of his 16:10 of ice time has been spent on special teams. The Kings rank sixth on the power play and 10th on the penalty kill.
from Darren Dreger of The Dreger Report,
The structure of this mammoth contract has been the main issue for the past month, but sources say Kings general manager Dean Lombardi didn't want to pay Kopitar north of $9 million, didn't want to frontload the agreement and didn't want to have to include a no-move clause.
In the end, Kopitar got what he wanted, an annual average salary of $10 million, a heavily front-loaded contract that will pay him $14 million in year one and includes two $9-million signing bonuses, immediate no-move protection that carries through year four of the extension, and a limited no-trade clause that will blanket the last four years of the deal.
Lombardi's slow play throughout this negotiation was a somewhat dangerous approach. As impactful as Kopitar is, $10 million consumes a hefty chunk of cap space, especially with the expectation the salary cap will increase marginally, if at all.
more plus a topics on Clark MacArthur's health and Mike Sullivan...
LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Kings and forward Anze Kopitar have agreed to terms on an 8-year contract extension, Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi announced today.
The extension begins at the start of the 2016-17 season and culminates at the end of the 2023-24 campaign.
Kopitar, 28, has spent his entire NHL career with the Kings after the club selected him in the first-round (11th overall) of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. In 725 regular season games he has 645 points (230-415=645), a plus-62 rating and 194 penalty minutes, while in 70 postseason games he has 60 points (18-42=60), a plus-22 rating and 37 penalty minutes en route to two Stanley Cups.
Kopitar is the latest Kings player to be secured under a long-term contact, joining Jonathan Quick, Jeff Carter, Dustin Brown, Drew Doughty, Marian Gaborik, Jake Muzzin, Alec Martinez and Kyle Clifford.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
It’s also why the new Kopitar contract, expected to be announced Friday, may have little impact on the negotiations involving the other key centre approaching unrestricted free agency this summer – Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos, who is not close to signing an extension with the Lightning.
There are some who link the two negotiations on the grounds that players of their calibre are usually locked up years before they hit the market. But upon closer examination, it really isn’t an apples-to-apples comparison.
Stamkos, at 25, is three years younger than Kopitar, but his team hasn’t had nearly the same success as the Kings or the Blackhawks, captained by another great centre, the much-admired Jonathan Toews.
Toews and Kopitar are annually in the running for the Selke Trophy which, while nominally awarded to the NHL’s best defensive forward, has really morphed into a way of acknowledging the game’s best two-way player.
And while Toews’s leadership skills are considered unparalleled in today’s NHL, Kopitar is a touch better offensively. He has led the Kings in scoring for eight consecutive years, and Darryl Sutter – a very hard coach to please – has long called him the best centre he’s ever had.
Stamkos has a different skill set. He is a far more gifted goal-scorer than Toews and Kopitar. In the current NHL, only Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals and perhaps Joe Pavelski of the San Jose Sharks are in his company.
But as a rule, general managers tend to loosen the purse strings more for players who’ve led them to championships.
via Darren Dreger tweets,
Good news for Kings fans. An early morning source says progress made on Kopitar contract last night. Not done, but inching closer...
The mood around the Kopitar negotiations late yesterday afternoon wasn't good. Patience running out. Something changed last night.
from Lisa Dillman of the LA Times,
After 41 games last season, the Kings were in fourth place in the Pacific Division with 47 points and trailed the first-place Ducks by 11 points.
They had won five times on the road in 19 opportunities and as reigning Stanley Cup champions weren't displaying much of an emotional range.
Halfway through this season, the Kings lead the division with 55 points, nine ahead of second-place Arizona. They've won 13 games on the road, two shy of their total last season.
Coach Darryl Sutter noted the improved confidence level.
"Our players have been better in the tough part of the schedule because the top guys, the stars on our team, didn't like what happened to them last year," Sutter said. "And our young guys, it's not a good feeling for a young player when he hasn't played a playoff game.
"It doesn't matter how many games you've played in the NHL, if you haven't played in a playoff game, you haven't really accomplished much yet. When you go through our group, a lot of these kids, they have not. They've had a year under their belt and that's how you push them."
via Jon Rosen of LA Kings Insider,
On being animated after Brayden McNabb’s charging major:
How were you? [Reporter: Same.] OK. [Reporter: Did you think it was the right call?] Yeah, that’s why I was hollering at ‘em. I was telling ‘em it was a great call. [Reporter: What was your interpretation of the play?] The guy’s falling down, and Brady makes contact, so his head’s right down around your knees… so what’s your interpretation of it? Probably the same as mine. Don’t talk about it anymore. If they can’t make better calls than that, then-
The Kings lost to the Blues 2-1 in a shootout.
from Frank Seravalli of TSN,
Eyebrows raised around the NHL when the Los Angeles Kings acquired Vinny Lecavalier on Wednesday.
What does Dean Lombardi, general manager of a Stanley Cup contender, see in a 35-year-old healthy scratch who was of little use to two coaches on non-playoff teams in Philadelphia?
Turns out, Lombardi is hoping for a little of…Bill Walton? Yes, the basketball Hall of Famer.
"The logic here is there's a lot of history of this," Lombardi explained to reporters. "I think Vinny, at this stage of his career, it's been made clear to us that it's all about getting one last chance to win it all.
"…When you look at the history of things like this, with teams that have a chance to maybe do some damage, whether it's a Bill Walton, a top player, when he went to the Celtics; a guy here, Bob McAdoo, went to the Lakers; a guy like Darryl Strawberry and [Cecil] Fielder going to the Yankees – these were all top guys who, near the end of their career, wanted a chance to win and were willing to accept a lesser role."
It sounds off-the-wall, but Lombardi's thought process is interesting.
added 4:59pm, Breakdown of the salary the Flyers will be responsible for...
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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