On Wednesday, TSN reported that Kopitar’s on the verge of joining Kane and Toews as one of the NHL’s three $10-plus million cap hits — according to Bob McKenzie, Kopitar and the Kings are “very close” to locking in an eight-year, $80 million extension.
It’s an absolutely massive deal, one that’s long been in the works.
Kopitar, a two-time Stanley Cup champion and Selke finalist as the NHL’s best defensive forward, came into this season as a marquee pending UFA, along with Steve Stamkos.
Yet unlike Stamkos, there was never a real sense the 28-year-old would leave the only club he’s known. Taken 11th overall by the Kings in 2005, Kopitar has been a staple of the club’s resurgence — he’s racked up 645 points in 725 career games, and another 60 in 70 playoff appearances.
All of those games came in a Kings uniform.
Yes, the negotiation process dragged on. And yes, there are questions about committing so much money and term to a guy that’ll be 29 in August.
But at the end of the day, Kings GM Dean Lombardi understood it was vital to keep Kopitar in Hollywood for the long haul, and managed to get it done.
And in that sense, Kopitar isn’t alone.
The Kings, as has been well-documented, have a number of lengthy contracts on the books. Jonathan Quick‘s mega-deal goes all the way to 2023. Captain Dustin Brown is under contract through 2022, as is Jeff Carter. Alec Martinez and Marian Gaborik‘s deals run through 2021, while Jake Muzzin is locked in through 2020.
All those players make between $4M and $5.875M annually, which gives you an idea of Lombardi’s challenge moving forward.