When the Chicago Blackhawks re-signed their dynamic duo of Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews to matching eight-year, $84 million extensions they sent shockwaves throughout the league. One of the those shockwaves involves Anze Kopitar of their Western Conference rival Los Angeles Kings and his current contract status.
Kopitar will be a free agent in 2016, making him eligible for an extension a year from now, and with his play, the team’s success and the payday his rivals have gotten he is due for a large contract. He is making $6.8 million per year and could see an increase of anywhere from 20-30 percent in his next contract. With the way he defended the Blackhawks’ pair and helped the Kings vanquish their foes from the Windy City, a payday in their neighborhood would definitely be in line.
While Kopitar could very well (and likely will) take a little less as part of a “hometown discount”, the star and his agent should aim for at least $8.5-9.5 million per year. He is worth every penny, and the Kings know this. 6-foot-4 centers who are among the league’s best defensive forwards, have two Stanley Cups and amazing offensive abilities don’t grow on trees and fetch top dollar.
Look for Dean Lombardi to be his usual, shrewd self and take care of all this well before Kopitar can sniff the open market, like Chicago did with Kane and Toews. That’s what separates the great teams from the rest of the league. The Kings are sure to recognize this in order to maintain their standing.