Report: Anze Kopitar Close to Signing 8-Year Extension

After a couple of days of reports that the Anze Kopitar contract extension wasn’t as close as either party would like, TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports that Kopitar is set to sign an eight-year extension with the Kings. While it’s not locked in place, McKenzie says that the deal is “in final stages of paperwork.”

McKenzie reports that the contract is an eight-year, $80 million deal, carrying an AAV of $10 million. That will make him the third largest cap hit in the NHL, behind Chicago’s Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. Both of those contracts carry an AAV of $10.5 million.

An eight-year deal means Kopitar will be under contract through the 2023-24 season, when Kopitar will be 36.

ESPN’s Craig Custance notes that one of the final details being sorted is Kopitar’s no move clause. That’s tricky, because Kings GM Dean Lombardi has been anti-NMC for a long time. (No GM really wants them, but Lombardi actively battles against them.)

It’s not a bad deal for the Kings. They retain their number one center, who is a solid scorer, an excellent defensive player and a two-time Stanley Cup champion. It has to be assumed that Kopitar would have easily drawn this much on the open market if he was selling his services to the highest bidder. A center of his ilk doesn’t hit free agency often and would have to draw top dollar from many teams who have struggled to find a game-changing center.

It’s a deal that begins to show how far the bar has been raised for star-level deals and gives a taste of what it may take for Tampa Bay to retain Steven Stamkos, who is also a UFA this summer.

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