The Kings today announced a two-year contract extension for Tanner Pearson, who had previously been set to hit restricted free agency over the summer. The deal will cover Pearson's age 23 and 24 seasons at an AAV of $1.4 million; he'll be an RFA again in 2017.
This is a nice move for the Kings. Pearson was obviously never going to receive anything close to his full market value as an RFA, but even so, $1.4 million over two years is very low. In comparison, Boston got pending RFAs Torey Krug and Reilly Smith to sign deals for $1.4 million--but those were one-year deals, and Boston only got them after contentious negotiations that saw Krug and Smith miss the opening of training camp. In contrast Pearson gave LA the extra year and was willing to sign his deal early, so he's presumably happy with it. The very low AAV will free up space for LA to give larger contracts to players like Tyler Toffoli and/or Andrej Sekera and/or Justin Williams.
As for what Pearson can do, I don't think his NHL floor or ceiling is firmly established yet; we don't have a huge NHL sample for him. I don't see him as a burgeoning superstar like Tyler Toffoli, but so far his NHL results suggest a competent top-six forward with solid play driving and goalscoring abilities, which is not at all bad at age 22. He's got impressive speed and ability to protect the puck. He even leads the team in even strength goals/60 this year, although that's likely because of an unsustainable shooting percentage and shouldn't be expected to continue.
Pearson is currently still recovering from his fractured fibula; his return date is likely sometime early in the playoffs, if the Kings qualify.
What do you think of the deal? Share your opinion in the comments below.