Anze Kopitar Contract Nearly Done With LA Kings

MayorsManor Anze Kopitar Kings Frozen Fury 2015 by IkiriWith 706 NHL games played, the eighth most in Los Angeles Kings history, and 225 goals scored – trailing Wayne Gretzky’s 246 goals for sixth best in franchise history – Anze Kopitar is about to get paid. The questions everybody seems to be asking is how much will that be and over what time period?

Contrary to what you may have read elsewhere, MayorsManor has recently confirmed via multiple sources close to the negotiations, the two sides are very close to wrapping up a new eight-year contract for the team’s 2005 first round draft pick and the man who has essentially led the team in scoring since making his NHL debut a little more than a year later.

As we tweeted last week, here is the frame work of the deal:

Of note is the fact that Kopitar cannot get more than seven years from any other NHL team on the open market next summer as an Unrestricted Free Agent. Per the CBA agreed upon in January 2013, NHL teams can offer their own impending UFAs eight-year extensions, while the other 29 clubs can offer a maximum term of seven years.

Many outlets, including MayorsManor, have reported Kopitar and his agent, Pat Brisson, are believed to be asking in the $10-11 million per year range. Brisson was able to secure new contracts for the Blackhawks Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane during the summer of 2014, both averaging $10.5 million per season. While those were among the richest contracts in league history, they were still below the maximum allowable payout, 20% of the salary cap (roughly $14M now with a $71M cap).

If you assume Kopitar could find a team to pay him $11M on the open market, that equates to $77M over seven years. Even if you want to argue he could easily get $10M per season, that equates to $70M total. Hence, if he takes 9.75M per season from the Kings for eight years, the annual cap hit might be lower, yet the total value of the deal would sit at $78M.

From what we have been able to gather, Kopitar isn’t interested in going below the $9.75M number, feeling that equates to a hometown discount, considering all market variables. On the flip side, in every radio interview we’ve given on the subject over the past year, we’ve argued the Kings shouldn’t be looking to go above $9M per season. Apparently, GM Dean Lombardi agrees with that ballpark and has been trying to close the deal in the $9-9.25M range. Just like the Drew Doughty contract talks in 2011 drug out for an extended period, so to have the Koptiar talks. And just like the Doughty camp was able to get close to their number in the end, it looks like Kopitar’s new contract will likely land more in line with his wishes than what Lombardi had hoped for.

With the dollar amount and term all but settled, a no-trade / no-movement clause is believed to be one of the final items still under discussion. And this is more than a small detail, as Lombardi has really only agreed to such clauses for team captain Dustin Brown (can list up to eight teams he will not accept a trade to) and goaltender Jonathan Quick. In fact, it was allegedly one of the sticking points that ultimately led to Rob Scuderi not re-signing with the club in 2013. Naturally, offering this to your franchise forward is far different than agreeing to something similar for a 35-year old defenseman.

Overall, reaction to Kopitar within the hockey community varies from people believing he is one of the top three centers in the league to others feeling he isn’t nearly at that level. Even as recently as a few years ago, former King scoring ace, Marcel Dionne, shared that he wasn’t convinced Kopitar had lived up to his full offensive potential just yet. Although it would be too easy to say the truth likely lies somewhere in between those two statements, one senior NHL scout recently told us that at first he thought Kopitar may be overrated by most, especially given his lack of high-end production. Then, upon continued discussion, said scout commented that if he tried, he couldn’t come up with 10 centers in the league who were all around better players. Interestingly enough, it was also noted that one of the key reasons Jeff Carter is so effective in his current role as the Kings No. 2 center is in large part due to what Kopitar accomplishes as the No. 1 pivot. More importantly, if Kopitar was to leave the Kings, sliding Carter up to the top line would diminish his effectiveness within the Kings system.

As a final little tidbit, long after the contract is announced and the Kings complete their (assumed) run through the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs, there is one other little housekeeping item that will eventually tie back to this story. Expect Kopitar to be wearing the captain’s C when the Kings suit up for opening night next October, right after they get back from their two-game stint in Las Vegas.

MORE KOPITAR CONTENT:

2012 Stanley Cup: MayorsManor on-ice interview with Anze Kopitar and his dad

How Anze Kopitar brought Bobby Ryan to Sweden

Anze Kopitar responds to criticism, facing crossroads

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Comments

  1. Occupy Yourmind says:

    Thank the good lord… And I completely agree with the last sentence. Brownie will be with the team all year (you wouldn’t do that to your room mid-season), and then he’ll be gone over the summer.

  2. what’s the return for DB23…or do you think he’s just giving up the letter like Norstrom did for Blake?

  3. Kings of Hockeywood says:

    Are you suggesting Brown will be traded or bought out?

    If Brown and Gaborik can be moved without having to retain salary, there you have raises for Kopitar and Lucic, andthe team stays under the cap by replacing those two with some combination of Mersch, Kempe, and Zykov. I imagine they have at least a little trade value and won’t have to be bought out, but I wonder if Dean can do it without retaining some salary.

  4. I don’t buy that last part. Doughty will be the next Kings’ captain.

    Also, no way anyone takes Brown and this contract. The Kings would have to keep more than half his cap hit. Teams are not going to pay an unproductive 3rd/4th liner that money but the Kings cannot keep this on the books either. It will be interesting to see how Dean handles this situation.

    • NowhereMan says:

      LOL, Doughty will be lucky to even wear an ‘A’ next year. Everyone and their mothers knows Kopitar is Brown’s successor as captain. I imagine Greene gets his ‘A’ back next year while Carter keeps his. If we were to move Greene, THEN Doughty is most likely the next in line.

  5. Get_Carter says:

    If this season looks like 14-15 for DB23: Given how Lucic is playing, they find a way to deal Brown and probably get very little for him. Unfortunately most of what he does doesn’t show up on the score sheet and there’s no way that cap hit justifies what he brings. He’d have to be marketed with a huge dose of the “help grow younger players” type spin ala Mike Richards to get anything decent. That or he’d have to be package with a prospect to get something decent (Oilers?!?)

    If DB23 can put up 20 goals or is money in the playoffs, he’ll be an LA King again next season, regardless of anything else .

    If that is the case though, Dean-O will have to do a lot of work since there’s no way they keep him and Lucic with Kopi’s extension. I always thought Lucic was acquired not only to help the team win a Cup but with the hopes he’d pump up his trade value so the Kings can deal him. I have a hard time believing we gave up Martin Jones for only one year of Lucic (although I think we gave up Ben Scrivens for a few cases of Miller Lite).

    Gaborik will have to really pick up the pace to have any trade value since dealing him seems to be the only thing that I can see which would let them keep Kopi, Brown, and Lucic, without rolling 2 lines of Minor League and 2nd Year guys.

    The darkhorse is if Enroth keeps up his great play and we can pull a Cam Talbot to maybe get some team to view him as a number one, thereby packaging him with some other guys.