The Los Angeles Kings have signed star center Anze Kopitar to an eight-year extension. The contract is reportedly worth $80 million, carrying a $10 million cap hit, according to TSN. The contract takes effect at the start of the 2016-2017 season.
The deal is front-loaded, paying Kopitar between $11-14 million in the first four years and $7-8M in the final four years of the deal, according to Darren Dreger. The contract also features a no-move clause, which takes effect immediately and will remain in effect for the first four years of the contract.
Kopitar year by year: $14 mil, $13 mil, $12 mil, $11mil, $8mil, $8mil,$7mil,$7 mil. No move clause immediately and first 4 yrs.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) January 16, 2016
Kopitar is in the last year of a seven-year, $47.6 million deal. He will now be the highest-paid player on the Kings, passing defenseman Drew Doughty’s $7 million yearly cap hit. Additionally, Kopitar now holds the third-highest cap hit in the league, trailing only Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane ($10.5M).
Kopitar is widely considered to be one of the best two-way centers in the league; in fact, he has been a Selke Trophy nominee for the past two seasons and will most likely earn a nomination for the third year in a row. Most notably, Kopitar led the team to its first Stanley Cup victory in franchise history. The Kings also won the Cup two years later in 2014 against the Rangers. Kopitar is a vital piece of Los Angeles’ core, and he should be worth every penny of this contract, especially since the Kings are still very much a perennial Stanley Cup threat.
“I’ve been a part of this organization when we went through pretty big struggles and not very fun years when we played,” Kopitar said following the Sens-Kings game on Saturday. “We turned that around and the last few years have been pretty exciting for everybody … knowing we have a winning team here, that’s what makes you want to stay here for an extended period of time.”
Kopitar was drafted 11th overall by the Kings in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. He scored 61 points in 72 games in his first season with the Kings, and he has scored at least 60 points in all nine seasons with the Kings. This includes his performance in the lockout-shortened season, as his 42 points in 47 games would be roughly 72 points in an 81-game prorated season. Kopitar has led the Kings in points in every season since his first year; he leads the Kings in points so far this season as well with 36.
Kopitar has 230 goals and 416 assists for 646 total points in 726 career regular-season games. His playoff numbers are just as impressive, as he has 60 points in 70 career playoff games, including 18 goals and 42 assists.
Featured Image Credit: Mark J. Terrill-Associated Press