With Drew Doughty finally signed back up in Los Angeles after sealing up an eight-year, $56 million deal with Kings GM Dean Lombardi late last night, some fans are wondering how the 21 year-old Doughty managed to get paid more per season than 24 year-old top center Anze Kopitar. Kopitar is the team’s offensive leader and top playmaker while Doughty had a rough and tumble negotiating session that put his ability to start the year with the team in doubt.
Great production and being the good soldier versus good production, a promising future, and ugly-looking business work. It’s a matter of optics here for Kings fans and others curious about the deal, but with Doughty’s contract details coming forth, it turns out that Kopitar is still getting paid more per season. L.A. Times’ Helene Elliott breaks down Doughty’s deal and it has a certain twist.
With how Kopitar’s deal breaks down per year, his deal continues for the next five seasons. According to CapGeek.com, Kopitar makes $6.4 million this year, $6.5 million next year, $7.5 million the two seasons after that and $7.7 million in the final year of his deal in 2015-2016. By the time Kopitar’s deal runs out, Doughty’s deal climbs to $7.45 million in 2016-2017 and on from there.
Having this kind of pecking order is often seen as a good way of keeping the peace in the locker room. We’ve seen Detroit do it in not giving any players more money than captain Nicklas Lidstrom, and seeing it sort of in place in L.A. is curious to see as well. With both Kopitar and Doughty being young guys, it’s hard to believe that the salary thing would be an issue in the first place, but the last thing any team wants is to have an issue like that potentially poison the locker room.
Kings GM Dean Lombardi is being hailed as a stone cold negotiator for getting the deal done on his term but he could be seen even more like a wizard for potentially keeping any salary grumbling issues at bay even though everyone involved is saying they’re happy they could just get something done before they headed to Sweden. Hockey business is both serious and funny all at once.