Tag: contract negotiations

Drew Doughty

Contract quotable: Kings and Doughty react to long-term agreement

Even though the clock was nearing midnight in the East by the time an agreement was made, there wasn’t a shortage of quotes flowing from all sides as the Kings organization reacted to Drew Doughty’s contract agreement. The 8-year deal worth a total of $56 million makes his annual salary the highest on the team—something the team repeatedly refused to discuss. But at the end of the day, the team got the longer term deal they were looking for and the player got the higher salary that he desired.

With the deal in the rearview mirror, all sides are speaking out. There’s a lot of love and happiness flowing nowadays—if all the negotiations were this amicable, why wasn’t this deal done in July?

Drew Doughty expressed that it was important to him that he joined the team for their opening games in Europe. Of course, his heart was always in L.A. and he never had any intentions of playing anywhere else:

“I definitely didn’t want to miss that. This was never in mind, even being out for this long at all, but I knew I had to be there for the start of the season. I missed the boys a lot, and missed being in L.A., and this just felt like time to get it done and I’m really happy and really excited.”

He also said there was never a question of signing anywhere else.

“I’ve been a Kings fan since I was a kid, and I was never thinking about going elsewhere,” he said. “I knew it was just a matter of time before it got done. I hope we can win many Stanley Cups in that time, and I’m going to do everything I can to help lead us to that.”

Kings’ governor Tim Leiweke continued with the theme and spoke about how Doughty is a great person and how the negotiations were just part of the business. Again, everyone loves everyone:

“Look, he’s a special kid and he’s a good kid. These things are never easy, and sometimes people take them personally, but I think he’s going to be fine. I guarantee you we’re fine. I’m happy that we got it done. I think Dean did a great job and I respect Drew and Don (Meehan). They had the right to work through this the way they worked through it. So the important thing is that we have this kid locked in for eight years. I just want to go win Cups. Drew is going to help us do that. What the fans should understand is, this kid is a warrior. I’m glad he’s on our side. I’m glad he’s here for eight years and I’m glad we got it done, because I think the world of him.”

Kings’ head coach Terry Murray also spoke to Rich Hammond from LA Kings Insider and brought some of the best perspective of the bunch. It’s business, people go through it, and you just have to hope that everyone can get back to normal after the process is over. Sometimes, that can be easier said than done—but that’s the situation the Kings and Doughty face as they make their final preparations for the upcoming season.

“That is a part of the business that I think everyone in it today understands, and realizes that this is part of the process sometimes. It’s been out there now for quite a few years and other players have gone through it. You go through it and you come out the other side and hopefully it works out for both sides and everybody can shake hands at the end of the day and can move by it and just start to play hockey again. That’s the way it is for me. I’ve been through this with other players. With Drew, I’m real happy. I’ll give him a big hug and say, `Let’s get back to playing the game that you love to play.”’

Getting back to the game must be music to everyone’s ears. With all of the contract talk out of the way, the Kings players, management, and fans can now look forward to their season that is filled with potential. With Doughty in the mix, the Kings have arguably their best lineup in the last two decades. Some would tell you it could be the best team in the 44-year history of the organization. Leiweke explained that the Kings’ organization is spending the money to allow the team to compete this season—and in the future.

“We are sending a very strong message to our fans. We’re committed to winning, and we just proved it again.”

“When you look at the commitments that we made this summer, when you add this to Mike Richards and his long-term deal, and Jack Johnson and the commitment we tied up there, and then going out and adding Simon Gagne, we spent more money this summer than in the history of this franchise. We always said, if we get close, we will come with our guns blazing, and we just blazed. I’m glad it’s done. I want our fans to understand that now, this is all about creating an environment to win the Cup, and that’s what Drew is going to help us do. We don’t look back. We only look forward now, and eight years is a good forward.”

With everyone sharing their feelings, it almost feels like a high-priced group therapy session. Now, the talking ends and the work begins. Is Drew Doughty going to be the missing piece to the team that has bonded in training camp to help the Kings get out of the first round (and beyond)?

We’ll all find out soon enough. But as of tonight, optimism is at an all-time high.

Kings and Drew Doughty agree on 8-year, $56 million contract

Drew Doughty

After months of negotiating and a stress-filled summer for Kings fans all over California, the waiting (and worrying) has finally come to an end. According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the Los Angeles Kings and restricted agent Drew Doughty have at last come to terms on an 8-year, $56 million contract. And not a moment too soon.

In an official press release, the Kings announced that the two sides had come to a verbal agreement.  Needless to say, the announcement ignited celebrations for hockey fans in Los Angeles; and shouts of denial from opposing fans who still  held out hope that their team would sign the restricted free agent an offer sheet.

“The Los Angeles Kings have reached a verbal agreement with restricted free agent defenseman Drew Doughty on a multi-year contract, Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi announced tonight.”

By all measures, the two sides came together on a deal at the last minute. The Kings finally budged after insisting that he average cap hit of any deal would not exceed Anze Kopitar’s team high $6.8 million per season. From Doughty’s side, the young defenseman accepted an eight-year deal—a longer term than he may have preferred. The $7 million average salary per season will make him the third-highest paid defenseman—trailing only Shea Weber’s one-year contract and Brian Campbell’s ridiculous $7.1 million per season. Kings’ governor Tim Leiweke praised GM Dean Lombardi for getting a deal done that works for the team.

“Dean did a good job here. Dean is unbelievable with the budget and the forecasting and, as you know, he’s a professor when it comes to the boxes and forecasting where we’re going long-term. So he was passionate about protecting ourselves with some flexibility here. I feel good about the fact that we have someone that has the vision that Dean has, long-term, and is keeping the nucleus together. But he’s also smart, and he knows eight years is eight years. And this kid is 21 years old. He’s going to 29, and still in his prime, when he’s done with this contract. That’s a good thing for the franchise. The guy that isn’t mentioned here, Mr. Anschutz, he has broken the bank here. We are sending a very strong message to our fans. We’re committed to winning, and we just proved it again.”

Three weeks ago, there were reports that the Kings had offered the 21-year-old defenseman a 9-year deal worth $6.8 million per season.

From the Kings point of view, it’s easy easy to understand their excitement. The 8-year deal will eat up four of Doughty’s valuable “unrestricted years,” at a reasonable $7 million per season. One of the difficult parts of the negotiating process is that there’s no real comparable salary for a player like Doughty. He’s already become the second youngest player to be nominated for the Norris Trophy and proved he belonged among the league’s elite at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

The timing also worked out for Los Angeles as well. There were plenty of artificial deadlines; but both sides understood that a deal needed to be reached by the end of the week or Doughty would miss regular season games. The Kings have two more preseason games in North America before leaving for Europe on Saturday night. People around the organization said they hoped to sign him in time to participate in a couple of preseason games before the regular season started in Berlin. With tonight’s deal, the team will decide if they want him to play in Saturday’s preseason game against the Avalanche before heading to their final preseason game on Tuesday in Hamburg, Germany.

For Doughty, he instantly becomes one of the highest paid defensemen (and players) in the NHL. He successfully skipped his “second contract” and jumped right to his huge payday at the tender age of 21. $7 million per season will buy quite a few cocktails for the man who recently reached the legal drinking age.

Symbolically, it shows that the organization realizes he’s an crucial piece to their puzzle. He’s now the highest paid player on a team that not only has playoff aspirations, but Stanley Cup dreams. No pressure there kid.

Now comes the tough part. As weird as it may sound after this prolonged three month ordeal, someone may want to tell Doughty that negotiating the contract is the easy part. Now he’ll have the next eight years to prove that he’s worth it. With that kind of money and the type of team the Kings have assembled this season, individual statistics may not be enough to justify that kind of contract.

All the sudden, the stakes have been raised for Drew Doughty and the LA Kings. A Norris Trophy? He has eight years. Legitimate playoff performer? He has eight years. Stanley Cup?

You get the idea…

Coyotes GM Don Maloney on Kyle Turris’ contract demands: “It’s illogical”

Don Maloney

While Drew Doughty and the Los Angeles Kings and their contract negotiations for the restricted free agent are getting a ton of attention, what’s going on in Phoenix with the Coyotes and Kyle Turris makes those talks seem normal by comparison.

Turris has said he wants a deal that pays him anywhere from $3 million -$4 million per season. For a guy that’s scored 19 goals in 131 games over parts of three seasons, that either means Turris thinks the market is really crazy or he’s got big brass ones. After all, the Coyotes are still without an owner and aren’t exactly spend-crazy while waiting and hoping to get a new financial sugar daddy.

Coyotes GM Don Maloney is the guy in charge of trying to negotiate with Turris and his agent Kurt Overhardt on a new deal and while Turris’ demands appear to have done the job we thought they would in making him a bit crazy, Maloney is more exasperated not knowing where Turris is coming from in asking for so much money as he said today at the start of Coyotes training camp (video).

“This is just so illogical, from our standpoint, the position he’s taken it makes absolutely no sense to me,” Maloney said.

“I have no intention of trading him whatsoever. We still think he’s a young, developing player but he’s still developing. Once you’re a proven 30 or 40-goal, 80 point guy then, yes, you get the brass ring. But until you get there you have to settle… Well, again, that’s what makes America great he doesn’t have to settle. He can stay at home and watch Oprah.”

source: Getty Images

Maybe Turris is at home hoping Maloney shows up to tell him there’s a new contract under his chair. Oprah’s good like that, so why not?

Maloney and the rest of the Coyotes’ frustration in dealing with this rather amazing situation is incredible. While we’ve seen big deals given out to Tyler Myers and Shea Weber recently and to Steve Stamkos this summer as well, seeing Turris’ demands come in so high comes off looking like a cry for help to get traded out of Phoenix where his career has been frustrating for him since making his debut as an 18 year-old in 2007 under Wayne Gretzky.

Is trading Turris a possibility though? Maloney explained his position on why they’re not interested in trading him and why they’re also not giving in to his demands.

“Well I think Kyle believes in himself. He believes he’s a good player in this league and we’d certainly like more opportunity for him to show it,” Maloney said.

“But we’re not a developing team, we’re here to win, we’re here to win now. He showed a step forward in the playoffs last year. That’s why we’d like to get him back. We’d like to show that process and that step forward and the production we need out of Kyle Turris to be a good offensive player. But it’s not there yet… You have to perform before you get paid.”

Proving his worth on the ice would be a great move for Turris before coming up with such big demands, but coach Dave Tippett’s wont to use Turris is proving to be a problem. If Turris thinks that getting big money will help Tippett play him more, he’s wrong. It’s a curious kind of “chicken or egg” situation for Turris as he won’t get the ice time he’s looking for unless he plays things Tippett’s way, but doing that might not help him score the goals he thinks he’s capable of.

If you had to make a bet as to who blinks first in this battle, don’t expect the NHL-run Coyotes to give in any time soon.

Lombardi: Drew Doughty’s contract offer drops nearly $25,000 each day he isn’t signed

Dallas Stars v Los Angeles Kings

Kings training camp opened up today and, as expected, Drew Doughty wasn’t there to join the team for their fitness tests and physicals. Kings GM Dean Lombardi and Doughty’s agent Don Meehan are still in the process of negotiating a long-term deal for the cornerstone defenseman and those negotiations haven’t exactly been going well.

Today, Lombardi spoke with L.A. Kings Insider’s Rich Hammond to give his thoughts on the situation and while Lombardi isn’t happy that things are taking this long with Doughty, the flip side of that is that the longer Doughty continues to holdout for a new deal it’s going to hurt his wallet as well.

Hammond gets the word from Lombardi that for each day Doughty isn’t signed it’s going to take money from the last offer the Kings made to the 2010 Norris Trophy finalist.

Question: All that said, at the risk of asking a simple question, what’s next?

LOMBARDI: “The problem we have, and we’re going to have to see how this evolves, is that generally with a player, you establish his market value and he signs up for 275 days of work. That was the one thing that changed during the CBA, that players were paid during training camp. So, quite frankly, it’s the way we have to approach this. Let alone missing a day or work, as well as getting behind your teammates in terms of preparation. It probably makes this a little more difficult, but you have to factor that in now. You’re not getting a full year’s work as of today.”

Question: Meaning the offer gets reduced by however many days he’s not here?

LOMBARDI: “Well, as we talked about before, there has to be some finality, in terms of when the players are supposed to report. It’s no different, I think, than what the other teams have done. It’s, `OK, now we have to regroup here and see what evolves,’ and then I have to go back to ownership. It’s no different than anything else. You do this based on 275 days of work, and now it’s down to 274.”

By Hammond’s math (and ours, we double-checked) the last offer on the table was for $6.8 million a year and dividing that by 275 gets you a daily cost of $24,727.27. We’re sure that anyone else around the world would love to make nearly $25,000 a day, but for Doughty the pressure is on now to get something worked out and fast.

While Doughty is a restricted free agent and he can do as he wishes to get the right kind of deal, the fact that there’s been no offer sheets presented to him or any other RFA this summer and teams are now entering training camp with the rosters they feel they can win with, Doughty’s options are pretty limited as to what he can do.

Essentially, Doughty either has to compromise and take the Kings’ offer or continue to sit at home waiting for the Kings to cave in to his demands. Waiting for Dean Lombardi to blink could leave Doughty waiting around for a while. Doughty would certainly benefit from being in camp and with the Kings having such high hopes heading into this season, it would do both him and the team a world of good to have him there from the get-go. For now, they’ll all have to deal with the distraction of having Doughty’s negotiations being the lead story.

While Lombardi is confident they’ll get something done and Doughty will be a King for a long time, the bumps in the road that are these negotiations are serving to provide more negative feelings than positive ones. Here’s to hoping both sides will find peace soon as the Kings could prove to be one of the more special teams this season.

Leafs lock-up Luke Schenn for 5 years

Toronto Maple Leafs v New Jersey Devils

The restricted free agent signing frenzy continued late Thursday night/early Friday as the Toronto Maple Leafs and Luke Schenn agreed on a five-year contract. TSN’s Bob McKenzie broke the news and subsequently sent all of Leafs Nation into celebration. This is all it took:

“Luke Schenn has agreed to terms with the Toronto Maple Leafs. No further details at this point but he will report to camp Friday.”

With the former 6th overall pick in the mix, the Leafs will feature a top 4 with Schenn, captain Dion Phaneuf, John-Michael Liles, and Mike Komisarek. Newly acquired Cody Franson, Keith Aulie, and Carl Gunnarsson will compete over the final two spots—with the loser getting an all expense paid trip to the press box. Oh, hypothetically speaking, there’s Jeff Finger in the mix as well.

Schenn’s stats are never going to blow anyone over. The stay-at-home defenseman only has 12 goals and 53 points in 231 career games. But that’s not Schenn’s job in Toronto. He’s paid (and paid well nowadays), to prevent the other team from scoring, get under the opponents’ skin, and protect his teammates. This is a guy who was compared to Adam Foote when he was a first round draft pick in 2008. Colorado (or Columbus) never paid Foote for the points he was going to put on the board, right?

An important point to factor into the financial terms of the contract is that the five-year deal accounts for one of Schenn’s unrestricted free agent years. The good news for Leafs fans is that he won’t hit the open market after his seventh season in the league. However, the bad news is that he’ll hit the open market when his contract expires after his eighth NHL season.

The extra year on the contract undoubtedly bumped up the average salary per season. Even without solid contract figures, the boys over at Pension Plan Puppets wasted no time figuring out Schenn’s new contract comparables.

“A cap hit between $3.4M and $3.6M puts Schenn among the following company: Rob Scuderi, Johnny Oduya, Kris Letang, Ryan Suter, Roman Hamrlik, Nick Schultz,Willie Mitchell, Cory Sarich, Brent Burns, Matt Carle, Niklas Hjalmarsson, and Viktor Hedman.

Now the Leafs (and their fans) can stop worrying about contract negotiations and start worrying about their team next season. With the likes of Schenn, Phaneuf, and James Reimer trying to keep the puck out of their own net, newcomers Tim Connolly and Matthew Lombardi will attempt to help Toronto improve upon the 2.60 goals per game. If both can stay healthy, they should provide a boost to the team that was in the bottom third in the league in scoring.

Scoring woes are a different problem for a different day though. The continued maturation of Luke Schenn will be imperative for the Leafs to improve next season. As much as their offense struggled at times last season, the defense was the weaker part of their overall game. The only teams with worse goals against averages were the Blue Jackets, Islanders, Oilers, Thrashers, and Avalanche. Needless to say, those aren’t exactly perennial Stanley Cup contenders.

It’s Schenn’s job to turn those numbers around—he’ll have five years to figure it out.