Marian Gaborik is Likely Signing an Extension with the Kings. Rejoice!

CBC's Elliotte Friedman suggests that the extension would likely be announced after the playoffs.

It's been clear since the Kings acquired Marian Gaborik that both the team and the player were interested in a long-term extension. In his wonderful 30 Thoughts column Elliotte Friedman suggests that both sides have gotten their wish, and a new contract will likely be announced after the playoffs. The relevant quote:

24. Don't think Marian Gaborik is going to hit free agency. During their 2012 cup run, the Kings quietly did an extension with Jarret Stoll, but waited until it was over to announce. Could see something similar here.

Although Friedman couches his language, it seems quite likely from this quote that Gaborik and the Kings have either already agreed to an extension or are very close to it. Friedman says nothing about the terms of the contract. That Gaborik apparently does not want to test unrestricted free agency, however, suggests that, like Jarret Stoll, he's more interested in signing in the right place than in maximizing his compensation.

Los Angeles and Gaborik have certainly been good for each other. A rough, injury-filled half-season with Columbus dropped Gaborik's trade value so low that he could be had merely for Matt Frattin and a second-round pick. Although there were some now-hilarious critics of the trade, Jewels From the Crown was hopeful that Gaborik's offense at the wing would be just what Los Angeles needed. In the following months Gaborik has crushed even those optimistic predictions and reestablished himself as a star player. Playing on Kopitar's wing, he has three more goals than anyone else in the playoffs and keeps doing things like this and this. He's also been a solid possession player (54.0% Corsi, +.2% Corsi relative in the playoffs and an amazing 63.1% Corsi with Anze Kopitar in the regular season).

Now, some of Gaborik's success has been good fortune: the Kings are shooting 11.5% with Gaborik on the ice, a number that will likely come down a bit. But that number might not actually come down too much, because one of Gaborik's tremendous strengths is an ability to drive percentages. His 5v5 on-ice shooting percentage of 10.21% is fifth in the league over the past seven years, and Gaborik has done that despite not playing with dynamic centers for most of his career. This is over a 5,745 minute sample size, which is enough for me to comfortably say most of this is a talent on his part. He is the perfect fit for a Kings team that is unrivaled at controlling the puck but struggles with shooting percentage.

The one major downside is that Gaborik will be 33 next season and is very likely on the downslope of his career. Since the Kings are contenders right now, however, they can afford to sign a player of Gaborik's age. Gaborik may not be good in five years but for the next two to three he will probably make an already excellent Kings team far more dangerous.