It sounds like slowly, but surely, the Anze Kopitar extension in L.A. will happen.
“He’s everything we covet as a King,” Kings VP of hockey ops Mike Futa told Sportsnet’s Hockey Central. “It’s too close to not get it done. We’ll find a way to get it done.”
The Kopitar extension has dragged on for months now, something we’ve covered thoroughly — see here, here, here and here.
It’s been dragged out for a reason. Several reasons, actually.
The Kings were in a salary cap quagmire for quite some time, waiting on resolutions for both Slava Voynov and Mike Richards. It also stands to reason Kopitar’s ask is massive, given 1) all he’s accomplished during his time as a King, 2) the fact L.A. has openly praised how much he means to the organization, and 3) the mega-deals signed by Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane in Chicago.
More, from TSN’s Bob McKenzie (courtesy Today’s Slapshot):
“Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane make $10.5 million per year, each. Anze Kopitar knows he’s not going to get that.
“But Malkin has the next-highest AAV, post-lockout, at 9.5. What’s the sweet spot between 9.5 and 10.5. I’m going to guess that it starts with a 10.”
Those kinds of dollars can lead to a complex negotiation.
GM Dean Lombardi has to balance between paying Kopitar what he’s worth, yet also keeping an eye toward the future, as he Kings still have some mighty big, mighty long contracts on the books — Dustin Brown and Jeff Carter through 2022, Marian Gaborik through ’21.
Lombardi also needs to account for contracts for talented youngsters like Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson, who are RFAs in ’18.
As for Futa’s remarks, he certainly timed them well.
Recent reports from both TSN and Sportsnet suggested contract talks had stalled between the two sides, and that Kopitar wasn’t happy about it.
“We’re obviously working through it,” Futa explained. “He wants to stay here; we want him to stay here. Sometimes negotiations take a little longer than you like.”