When the Los Angeles Kings brought Marian Gaborik in at the deadline, general manager Dean Lombardi hoped the former Columbus Blue Jackets winger would be more than just a “rental”. In inking the Slovakian sniper to a new seven-year extension, Lombardi stayed true to his word as the Kings continue to keep members of their Stanley Cup championship squad in town.
The average annual value of Gaborik’s new contract is $4.85 million, which is a $3 million cut in pay from his last deal and substantially less than he would have gotten on the open market. Gaborik’s willingness to literally put his money where his mouth is and take less to stay in L.A. as a member of an elite team speaks volumes about Gaborik and the Kings organization.
Gaborik has a history of being both streaky and injury-prone, but his play in his brief time in Los Angeles suggests those days are behind him. All Gaborik did was score the second most goals in a single postseason in franchise history (14) while being immensely important to the team’s run to the Stanley Cup. His deft skill and raw talent are amazing complements to the team’s otherwise grind it out style. Having the perfect mix of the two is what made the Kings champions this year and will have them in the conversation for years to come.
In five years having a 37-year-old with a cap hit just under $5 million may be an issue, but for now the Kings got amazing value on the deal. With Gaborik and fellow could be free agent Matt Greene locked up for less than market value, the Kings are keeping the core together in ways few contenders have been able to in the salary cap era.
Hollywood loves a good sequel, and the Kings could very well be providing just that next season.