LOS ANGELES—The LA Kings have begun negotiations with star center Anze Kopitar, whose -7year, $47.6 million contract is entering its last year this upcoming 2015-2016 season. Though the talks are said to be “just starting,” General Manager Dean Lombardi and the rest of the management are hopeful to come to a deal by the end of the summer.
Despite Kopitar’s subpar campaign this past season, the assistant captain has continuously proven himself as a core member of the Kings offense. For the eighth straight season, Kopitar was the highest goal scorer on the team, recording 16 goals and 48 assists.
He will be eligible to sign an 8-year contract if he manages to come to an agreement with the team.
The team was busy earlier this week in the re-signing of five restricted free agents, to various 1 and 2-year contracts. All players are from their AHL affiliate team, the Calder-Cup winning Manchester Monarchs, now known as the Ontario Reign. The players include Nick Shore (2-year), Jordan Weal (1-year), Andrew Crescenzi (1-year), Vincent LoVerde (2-year), and Nic Dowd (1-year).
Of the five, only two have heard the call to action from the Kings, while only one, Shore, has actually seen ice time with the team. Weal, the AHL Playoffs MVP, flew to Los Angeles for the final game of last season against the Sharks, but was scratched at the last minute.
For the 26-year-old LoVerde, this is the second 1-year contract in two years the Kings have signed with him. The defenseman has his best season with the Monarchs during the 2013-2014 season.
Days before the re-signings, forward Andy Andreoff had his contract extended for two more years with the team. Andreoff played in 18 games with the team, recording 2 goals.
The Kings will see their first game of the regular season against the San Jose Sharks on October 7.