Cross a big to-do item off of Rob Blake’s summer checklist.
There will be no will he or won’t he intrigue around Drew Doughty next summer. The all-star defenseman agreed to terms today to re-sign with the Kings for eight more years, keeping him in Los Angeles through the 2026-27 season.
Drew Doughty will ink new deal to remain with the LA Kings through the 2027 season!https://t.co/ExFOstg4DX— LA Kings (@LAKings) June 29, 2018
Financial terms have not been released by the team, but media sources are indicating he’ll have an $11 million cap hit, making him the highest paid King and the NHL defenseman with the highest cap hit, easily beating PK Subban’s $9 million AAV.
Doughty, of course, is a two-time Stanley Cup champion, two-time Olympic gold medalist, four-time Norris Trophy nominee, and, of course, took the trophy home himself after the 2015-16 season. Doughty hit a new career-high in points this season, netting ten goals and 50 assists while playing in all 82 games.
While Doughty has faced criticism for both his sometimes overly-physical play, as well as his temper on ice, he is also easily the most integral part of the Kings’ blue line. Prospects being drafted frequently say that they model their games after Doughty.
The Kings will have some work to do in the future to continue to fit all of their core players under the cap — Tyler Toffoli, Jake Muzzin, and Derek Forbort will need new contracts for 2020-21, and Tanner Pearson is up in 2021-22. And in a league that’s slowly starting to commit to speed and youth, well:
The Kings now have ~$54M in 2020-21 cap space tied up in:— Dimitri Filipovic (@DimFilipovic) June 29, 2018
38 year old Ilya Kovalchuk
36 year old Dustin Brown
36 year old Jeff Carter
36 year old Dion Phaneuf
35 year old Jonathan Quick
33 year old Anze Kopitar
33 year old Alec Martinez
31 year old Drew Doughty
As @helenenothelen points out they will also be paying Mike Richards in what would've been his age 36 season another $700k not to play for them— Dimitri Filipovic (@DimFilipovic) June 29, 2018
If those aging players start to decline at all, things could look pretty ugly. It may very well be that the Kings in a few years will look radically different, thanks both to a potential Seattle expansion, as well as some necessary salary cap-related contract dumps.
But having a player of Doughty’s caliber locked up for the long-term, providing stability on the blue line, is a relief, especially as it will be keeping the Kings out of a potentially distracting contract negotiation cycle this season.
Doughty’s proved in the past that he’s worth the money. Now, Rob Blake will need to continue to build a team around him and Kopitar that can still compete, despite two very large cap hits.
We’ll be back later tonight with some more analysis, but first, we turn it over to you:
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