Report: Kopitar contract extension now the Kings’ ‘highest, most forefront priority’

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L.A. Kings center Anze Kopitar will turn 28 years old toward the end of next month, so could he be celebrating his birthday with a contract extension?

According to LA Kings Insider, negotiations between the Kings and Kopitar on an extension have only just started but are expected to pick up as the summer continues. The report also mentions optimism that an extension could be finalized by the end of the summer.

From LA Kings Insider:

One of the reasons for the timing of the current contract push is that the Kings needed to finalize new contracts for a heavy crop of restricted free agents. That had been communicated to Kopitar and his representation, and because the final six RFAs signed contracts with the Kings over the previous two days, Kopitar’s extension now becomes the club’s highest and most forefront priority. Because he would be resigning with Los Angeles, he would be eligible to sign an eight-year contract extension.

Kopitar has spent his entire NHL career to date with the Kings, winning two Stanley Cups in 2012 and 2014. In both runs to the championship, he had a point-per-game pace. He recorded 64 points last season, but finished ninth in the league with 48 assists.

He was also a dominant force as far as puck possession goes, with the second-best Corsi For rating on the Kings at 59.2 per cent at five-on-five, according to stats.hockeyanalysis.com.

Kopitar is entering the final year of his current seven-year contract worth a total of $47.6 million. He would be eligible for unrestricted free agency at the end of the 2015-16 season.