The Los Angeles Kings are doing all they can to keep those dynasty talks alive.
On Wednesday, defenseman Jake Muzzin — a key contributor in each of L.A.’s last two playoff runs — was signed to a five-year contract extension, keeping him in L.A. through 2019-20 campaign.
Per TSN’s Darren Dreger, the deal is $20 million over five years, good for a $4 million average annual cap hit and a nice raise for Muzzin, who’s in the last of a two-year deal that pays $1M annually. When the extension kicks in, Muzzin — who was a pending RFA — will become the Kings’ third highest-paid defenseman, trailing only Drew Doughty and Slava Voynov.
The 25-year-old has emerged as a quality producer for the Kings since making his NHL debut four season ago. Muzzin recorded a career-high 24 points last year and was fantastic in the playoffs, scoring six goals and 12 points (leading all L.A. defensemen in tallies). The former OHL Sault Ste. Marie product also averaged 23:24 TOI per game in the postseason, second-most on the team.
With Muzzin locked up, the Kings now have the following players under contract through 2019: Muzzin, Doughty, Voynov, Jonathan Quick, Marian Gaborik, Dustin Brown, Mike Richards and Jeff Carter.
When will the Edmonton Oilers’ rebuild end? It certainly didn’t look like it was nearing its conclusion while the Kings cruised to a 6-1 victory Tuesday night.
Edmonton was missing some key players in Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle tonight, but the Kings were without Marian Gaborik, Trevor Lewis, and defenseman Jake Muzzin, so it wasn’t like the Oilers were the only ones hurting. Sure, it was a game that featured the defending Stanley Cup champions, but Edmonton also gave up four or more goals in regulation to Calgary and Vancouver in its previous two contests.
Perhaps the most depressing part of this game for Oilers fans was seeing the heroics of the Kings’ young players. While Edmonton has endured a series of losing seasons in an attempt to build through the draft, Los Angeles has been able to have its cake and eat it too.
The Kings had the 30th overall pick in 2012 because they won the Stanley Cup and used it on Tanner Pearson, who had two goals and an assist tonight. We’re only three games into the season, but so far he’s arguably been the league’s top rookie.
His linemate Tyler Toffoli — a second round pick in 2010 — added a goal and an assist, including this shorthanded gem:
Along with Jeff Carter, Toffoli and Pearson’s ‘That 70s line’ has been one of the best trios of the young season. Dustin Brown and Justin Williams also found the back of the net in the blowout.
Jonathan Quick came within a minute of earning a shutout, but Oilers forward Matt Hendricks managed to end his bid.
That goal might be seen by some as the silver lining for Edmonton tonight, but the bigger consolation is that the season has barely gotten started. There is still more than enough time for the Oilers to turn this around and have a respectable campaign, even if they haven’t had the start they were aiming for.
Kings coach Darryl Sutter had some nice things to say about Edmonton before tonight’s game, but the Oilers certainly haven’t looked like a team that can compete with the defending Stanley Cup champions so far tonight.
Compounding the Oilers’ problems was their announcement that goaltender Viktor Fasth has suffered a groin injury and will not return Tuesday. That marked the end of a rough night for him.
That 70s line of Jeff Carter, Tyler Toffoli, and Tanner Pearson struck again early in the first period to give the Kings the lead:
It wasn’t long before Justin Williams followed it up with his first goal of the season. The Kings’ hot unit struck again at 9:49 of the first frame thanks to Toffoli’s superb effort:
Fasth turned aside eight of the 11 shots he faced.
After starting the 2013-14 campaign with a 1-6-1 stretch, Edmonton is in danger of dropping its third straight game this season.