The Los Angeles Kings have signed Austin Wagner to a three-year contract extension that will pay the forward an average of $1.133 million per season. The 23-year-old finished the 2019-20 season with 11 points (six goals, five assists), and a team-leading 145 hits over 65 games with the Kings.
L.A. took Wagner in the fourth-round of the 2015 NHL Draft, and he has provided some excellent value for where he was selected. Wagner averaged just over 11 minutes of ice-time last season. The Kings controlled 5-on-5 play 55.4% percent of the time with Wagner on the ice, who provides some toughness to the bottom-six.
Wagner was due to be a restricted free agent this offseason, leaving defenseman Sean Walker and forward Nikolay Prokhorkin as the only RFA’s who are regulars to be signed. General manager Rob Blake will also have to decide if he wants to try and sign unrestricted free agents Trevor Lewis and Ben Hutton back for next season.
The Kings will continue to re-tool the roster that features veterans Drew Doughty, Anze Kopitar, Jonathan Quick, and Dustin Brown. Already armed with the No. 2 pick in the NHL Draft, L.A. has plenty of young talent in the pipeline, so we should see some more youth injected into the lineup next season.
Wagner should be a mainstay in the bottom-six forward group, who should continue to improve during the duration of his contract. He’s a cheap option that brings physicality to the Kings and could be a long-term solution on the third-or-fourth line.
Are you happy that Wagner will be back with the Kings next season?