Risk worth reward? Kings have core group locked up long-term

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Playoff success has come to the L.A. Kings over the past two years, so it’s not really a surprise general manager Dean Lombardi has locked up the core of the team for the long term.

A quick scan of Capgeek.com shows seven players from the Kings roster are locked into contracts with three or more years remaining on the term. Last month, Lombardi sided over the contract extension of L.A.’s captain Dustin Brown, who signed an eight-year, $47 million deal.

He joins Anze Kopitar, Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, Drew Doughty, Slava Voynov and Jonathan Quick as Kings players on long-term contracts. Of those seven, three will remain in their 20s – their late 20s – when their contracts expire.

All totaled, that is $37.9 million tied up in seven players for next season alone. In 2014-15, Brown’s annual cap hit will actually increase from the $3.175 million of his current contract to $5.875 million when his new deal kicks in.

But their playoff success – a Stanley Cup championship in 2012 and a Western Conference final appearance in 2013 – is the reason Lombardi wanted to keep this group together for more than just one or two winning seasons.

“It wasn’t only building it, but trying to keep it together and then fit it under the cap,” Lombardi told the Canadian Press back on July 18.

“You’re never done. It wasn’t just about becoming a good team. It was doing these type of things so that you could, in the end, build a culture, have an identity.

“You’ve got to really trust the character of your players that they’re inherently competitive and they’re not going to get complacent.

“Whether it’s Doughty or Kopitar or Quick or Richards or Carter and now Browny, I am a 100 per cent that there is not going to be complacency in these kids.”