How much could LA Kings center Anze Kopitar make on his next contract? What’s the latest concerning the Boston Bruins blueline?
Kopitar could land a big raise from the Kings.
NHL.COM: In a recent mailbag segment, Jon Rosen speculated the Los Angeles Kings could re-sign center Anze Kopitar sometime during training camp to a long-term extension worth around $10 million per season. Rosen notes Kopitar “compares quite favorably” with Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews, who is entering the first season of his eight-year deal worth an annual cap hit of $10.5 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kopitar is eligible next summer to become an unrestricted free agent. He’s currently earning an annual cap hit of $6.8 million. He’s been the Kings’ leading scorer in every season since 2007-08. He was also their leading playoff scorer during their championship runs in 2012 and 2014. Kopitar is one of the best two-way forwards in the game right now and a two-time Selke Trophy finalist. He’s also a very disciplined player and was a finalist last season for the Lady Byng Trophy. Rosen’s assessment of Kopitar earning around $10 million annually on his next contract is spot on.
No new additions to the Bruins blueline?
CSNNE.COM: In a recent mailbag segment, Joe Haggerty claims there’s no word the Boston Bruins are any closer to signing free agent defensemen like Cody Franson or Marek Zidlicky. He feels there’s no rush on the Bruins part to sign a UFA as none of the free-agent rearguards are being scooped up. The longer they’re unsigned, the more leverage it gives the Bruins to sign one of them to a team-friendly deal. Haggerty also claims there’s nothing new regarding trade rumors linking the Bruins to Winnipeg Jets blueliner Dustin Byfuglien, and believes the Jets would want a steep price for him. He also doesn’t see UFA center Derek Roy as a good fit with the Bruins.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The ideal scenario for the Bruins is to wait until they’ve had a chance to evaluate their current blueline in training camp and preseason play and then sign an affordable defenseman if required. I think Franson will be too expensive for the Bruins, as Haggerty speculates he could end up getting a two-year deal worth around $4.5 million annually. Someone like Zidlicky or Christian Ehrhoff might be more affordable options if needed.
As for Byfuglien, it will take a significant offer to convince the Jets to part with him. You’ve gotta give up value to get value, which means the Jets will likely want either a first-round pick, a top prospect or a good young player as part of the return. While I doubt the budget-conscious Jets can afford to re-sign “Big Buff” prior to his eligibility next summer for UFA status, I think they’ll keep him for the upcoming season to better their playoff chances and to allow Jacob Trouba another season of maturity on their defense corps.