AUDIO: Also includes audio of the media interview with Kyle Clifford, who talked about signing a five-year contract extension.
EL SEGUNDO, CA — On February 25, the Los Angeles Kings signed left wing Kyle Clifford to a five-year contract extension.
As reported at virtually the same time by Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet and Bob McKenzie of TSN, the deal has a salary cap hit of $1.6 million per season.
Clifford spoke to the media after practice shortly after the deal was announced.
“It’s a good feeling, obviously,” he said. “You can get it out of the way, and just focus on hockey. But it doesn’t guarantee anything. You still have to come to the rink every day, put your work in, and continue to progress to win games.”
“In any career, there’s always ups and downs,” he added. “A big focus for myself, and for our group here—we’re just trying to focus on consistency, and taking care of that part of it, coming in every day and doing what we need to do.”
Clifford said that contract negotiations began after the All-Star break, and that the process took awhile.
“The first couple of weeks, we had a long road trip, but it’s done,” he said. “The last couple of days, it’s been moving quick[ly].”
“It’s where I want to be,” he added. “We’re a family. There’s 23 guys—we bleed for each other. We love each other. That’s what makes it fun.”
“[Veteran status in the National Hockey League has] come quick, but it’s been a lot of fun. I’m just looking forward to continuing to that fun.”
Actually, negotiations took a little longer than Clifford indicated.
“[Kings Senior Vice President, Hockey Operations and Legal Affairs Jeff Solomon] started talking in [training] camp when his agent was there,” said President/General Manager Dean Lombardi. “I think it was just a process, and as you get closer to the end of the process, it accelerates because you’ve got more of a meeting of the minds.”
Lombardi had some pretty lofty praise for Clifford, as well.
“I think Clifford has been really good the last month,” he said. “He’s a better player than he was last year, and we have confidence in these guys to keep getting better and assume bigger roles.”
“Him and [winger] Jordan [Nolan, who signed a three-year contract extension on February 24], are a big part of the identify of this team. They don’t get a lot of fanfare. They’re not fancy, or anything else. But they’re awfully hard to play against.”
This story was updated to add comments from Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi.
Raw Audio Interviews
(Extraneous material and dead air have been removed; click on the arrow to listen):
Kyle Clifford (2:03)
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