Lately, the news regarding Anze Kopitar‘s contract negotiations has been less than encouraging, but the Los Angeles Kings forward nevertheless is still holding out hope that something will get done before the 2015-16 campaign begins, per ESPN and TSN’s Pierre LeBrun.
Kopitar has been the team’s scoring leader for an incredible eight consecutive seasons so it came as no surprise when a report surfaced in July calling re-signing Kopitar the team’s “highest and most forefront priority.” However, a month and a half later we have received a far less encouraging statement rather than a signing.
Kings GM Dean Lombardi said that the team and Kopitar are “not even in the ballpark.” We don’t know what the Kings feel is fair value compared to Kopitar, but given that the 28-year-old forward has 610 points in 683 games and has been a Selke finalist for two straight seasons, it seems reasonable to say that he has a lot of leverage. After all, if the Kings won’t pay him like an elite forward, it’s very likely that someone else will.
Of course, there’s still a lot of time for Kopitar and Los Angeles to find a common ground as one season remains on his existing seven-year, $47.6 million deal. The more immediate question is if Kopitar is going to have to put up with speculation and inquires about his status during the regular season.