On Thursday, the Kings locked up captain Dustin Brown with an eight-year, $47 million deal — the latest in a series of moves designed to keep the team’s core intact.
Brown, Jeff Carter, Drew Doughty, Anze Kopitar, Jonathan Quick, Robyn Regehr, Mike Richards, Jarret Stoll, Slava Voynov and Justin Williams are all signed through 2015 — with Brown, Carter, Doughty, Quick, Voynov and Richards locked in ’til 2019.
But according to L.A. GM Dean Lombardi, there’s zero worry about guys not having to play for contracts.
“I am a hundred per cent that there isn’t going to be complacency with these kids,” Lombardi said during Thursday’s conference call. “You have to trust the character of your players.”
Lombardi’s logic makes sense. Following their 2012 Stanley Cup win, the Kings didn’t suffer through the usual post-Stanley hangover — they finished fifth in the West, led the NHL in home wins (19) and advanced to the Western Conference final, losing to eventual Cup champs Chicago.
In doing so, the Kings became the first team since the 2008-09 Red Wings to win the Stanley Cup and advance to the conference final the following year.
In short, not much complacency.
And that lack of complacency often starts with Brown, a fierce competitor that has spent his entire career in Los Angeles and served as captain since 2008.
Lombardi lauded Brown’s team-first approach to contract negotiations — Brown reportedly negotiated his own deal — and said the captain made his deal more about L.A.’s cap situation, rather than himself.
“He has a passionate caring for this franchise and is totally embedded in being part of it be successful,” Lombardi said of Brown. “That’s the hallmark, first and foremost, of any great leader, and he just resonates that whenever you’re around him.”
It will be interesting, however, to see how the Kings manage their financial picture moving forward.
Lombardi has spent large to retain seven players in particular — Brown, Kopitar, Richards, Carter, Doughty, Voynov and Quick — who will cost the club just over $40 million annually beginning in 2014-15.