Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 06/02/14 at 10:53 AM ET
from Ken Campbell of The Hockey News,
The Kings aren’t going anywhere for quite a while. With the exception of Anze Kopitar, who has two years remaining on his contract, Kings GM Dean Lombardi has much of his core locked up in long-term deals. Captain Dustin Brown, who might have been the best player on the ice in the Kings Game 7 overtime win over the Blackhawks, is under contract until 2021-22, as is Jeff Carter. Mike Richards is signed until 2019-20 and defensemen Drew Doughty and Slava Voynov are locked up until 2018-19. And once you get past all them, goaltender Jonathan Quick is committed until 2022-23.
Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson have one more year remaining on their entry-level deals and with the salary cap likely going up after next season, look for Lombardi to get a jump on signing them to long-term deals this summer when he can start negotiating extensions for both players.
So that’s what the rest of the Western Conference faces for the next decade. With all due respect to the Rangers and the run they’ve gone on through these playoffs, it has been nothing like what the Kings have had to endure. They faced a 3-0 deficit in Round 1, took out a team that finished 16 points ahead of them in Round 2 and the defending Stanley Cup champion in Round 3. The Rangers got past the worst team in this year’s playoffs in the first round, a discombobulated and defensively clueless Pittsburgh Penguins team in Round 2 and a team that had lost its No. 1 goalie in Round 3.
If Henrik Lundqvist can outplay Quick and the Rangers can take advantage of what has to be a drained and running-on-fumes Kings team, they might have a chance to win this series. But if the Kings of the first three rounds show up for the final, it could be a very short, very one-sided Stanley Cup final.
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