The Los Angeles Kings have finally sealed the deal with the superstar forward Anze Kopitar. On Saturday, Kopitar signed a contract extension of eight years worth eighty million dollars. The deal came after lengthy negotiations between Kings general manager Dean Lombardi and Kopitar’s agent Pat Brisson (CAA Sports). negotiations were started since the of season and took much longer than expected for a layer labeled as the heart and soul of the Los Angeles Kings along with captain Dustin Brown. This deal makes Kopitar the third player in the NHL to sign a deal with an annual cap hit of $10M. According to many insiders and hockey experts, the Kopitar deal will likely be the same kind of deal Steven Stamkos will be looking for and will get from the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Kopitar’s contract structure is complex
The Kopitar contract is somewhat complex in the structure that it will have. It will be moderately frontloaded including a salary on year one of 14M, 13M in year two and twelve millions in year three with signing bonus of 9 million. He will have a no move trade clause up to year 4 of his contract and a limited no-trade clause for the remainder of his contract. The intent of general manager was not to have Kopitar paid more than 9M per season, no frontloaded contract and finally no no-trade-clause for the entirety of the contract. Negotiations last Tuesday hit a bump when the two sides couldn’t agree on certain terms of the agreement’s structure.
“I would have liked it to be done before the season so that would have been by me,” Kopitar said. “Again, you realize it’s a business. It’s a process. When two parties collide like that, it can go a little bit longer. This one was a bit longer and it’s done now,” said Kopitar, on his new deal.
It is uncertain if the contract extension will place the Kings in a salary cap jam in the future years or not. It is not guaranteed the salary cap will increase considering the way the Canadian dollars is plummeting.
Kopitar was drafted 11th overall at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft (the lockout draft), Since graduating with the Kings in 2006-2007, Kopitar has won the Stanley Cup twice with Kings in 2012 and 2014. In his 9 NHL seasons, Kopitar has scored 230 goals and assisted 416 for a total of 646 points. The Jesenice, Slovenia native has led the Kings for eight years in a row in scoring. He was a nominee on the Frank J Selke, in 2015 along Patrice Bergeron and Jonathan Toews. He is an excellent two way center capable to put a lot of points on the board while being a good defensive center. In 2015-2016, Kopitar has 12 goals for 36 points in 43 games, along with a plus -17 rating.
Many believe the focus of Dean Lombardi will be now to resign former Boston Bruins Milan Lucic and Trevor Lewis. Both players are due to become UFA at the end of this season. It will be hard for Lombardi to resign both considering the salary cap his team is in now and will be when Kopitar’s salary kicks in.
“It’s definitely nice knowing the eight-year plan ahead,” Kopitar said. “You never know what’s going to happen. In a perfect world, if everything goes according to my plan and the team’s plan, that sense of security is very nice,” commented Kopitar after last night’s game against the Ottawa Senators.
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