Defenseman Alec Martinez and Los Angeles Kings haven’t reached a compromise in their contract negotiations yet, but the pending unrestricted free agent wants to stay with the team, according to ESPN.com. He didn’t want to get into a discussion about his contract situation though when asked about it.
“It’s the reason why you have an agent,” Martinez said, per LA Kings Insider.
When asked if playing for the Kings was ideal for a hockey player though, he was willing to offer a detailed response.
“I think that the biggest thing is the group of guys. At the end of the day we’ve got a really good group of guys in here,” Martinez said. “Obviously L.A.’s the only thing that I know being drafted here, but talking to guys that have played in other places, they say that we’ve got something special here, and I’m a believer in that.
“There are probably not many teams [where] you get all the guys hanging out together at once. I think maybe the South Bay has a little bit of something to do with that and the fact that everyone’s just geographically really close to each other, just a bike ride away. But it’s also a testament to what management has done in bringing in good guys and good players and guys who get along. Obviously it’s a great group to be a part of.”
Ultimately, whether or not Martinez re-signs could come down to Los Angeles’ cap situation. The Kings have a little more than $56 million in cap space committed to just 13 players in 2015-16, per Cap Geek. That’s not including pending unrestricted free agents Justin Williams, Jarret Stoll, or Robyn Regehr. They also have several noteworthy players scheduled to test the restricted free agent waters, including early season standouts Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli.
The Kings reportedly want Martinez to agree to an average salary below the $4 million annually defenseman Jake Muzzin recently agreed to, but Martinez’s camp believes he would command at least $4 million as a free agent. Whether or not he’s willing to give the Kings a hometown discount remains to be seen.