On October 11, the Los Angeles Kings signed third-year center Anze Kopitar to a seven-year contract extension worth $47.6 million per season, an average of $6.8 million per year.
Kopitar, 21, has one year remaining on his current contract. With the extension, the Kings have Kopitar locked up through the 2015-16 season.
“Anze is a special player, but he has also shown a strong work ethic and the type character we believe is necessary to help shape the core of our team,” said Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi. “Along with some of our other young core players, the commitment Kopitar has shown at a young age should continue to improve and elevate his teammates and the franchise.”
“This agreement is another critical step forward in our building process, and it also demonstrates to our fans our organization’s commitment to building the right way,” added Lombardi. “However, we are not done. There is still more work to do, on and off the ice.”
Kopitar’s extension is the second-longest contract in Kings franchise history. The longest contract was the signing of Wayne Gretzky to an eight-year deal in 1988 after the first year the contract was extended from seven years to nine years.
The 21-year-old native of Jesenice, Slovenia played in all 82 games in the 2007-08 season, finishing the year with 32 goals and 45 assists for 77 points—all career highs. He was named the team’s Most Valuable Player last season and was played in the National Hockey League All-Star Game.
“This is really exciting and a little overwhelming to be honest,” said Kopitar. “I am happy to be a part of this organization for the next eight years.”
“I can focus now on hockey only and on doing what I want to do, which is to bring the Stanley Cup to LA,” added Kopitar. “I was really glad that happened today, especiallly before the season so I could just think about hockey right now and focus on that.”
A big reason the 6-3, 219-pound center signed a long-term contract was that he sees a bright future for the Kings after left wing Patrick O’Sullivan was signed to a three-year deal, and knowing that right wing Dustin Brown signed a six-year extension last season.
“Seven years is a long deal but I like LA,” said Kopitar. “I like everything about it. We have some good players locked down for that kind of years. That’s why I felt really comfortable signing that kind of deal.
“I think the Kings did a really good job locking down Dustin and O’Sullivan and I’m pretty sure they’re going to work on Jack [Johnson], too,” added Kopitar. “Drew [Doughty’s] got three more years on the entry-level deal. Those are the core guys.”
“I am also excited to remain with a great group of players who have gotten the same commitment from our organization. We are looking forward to growing together and to building something special here.”
Kopitar was selected by the Kings in the first round (11th overall) in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.
Frozen Royalty by Gann Matsuda is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. You may copy, distribute and/or transmit any story or audio content published on this site under the terms of this license, but only if proper attribution is indicated. The full name of the author and a link back to the original article on this site are required. Photographs, graphic images, and other content not specified are subject to additional restrictions. Additional information is available at: Frozen Royalty – Licensing and Copyright Information.