With star defenseman Drew Doughty set to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2018-19 season, the Los Angeles had been working hard on a contract extension the past few days and it seems that both sides have finally agreed on a new deal.
While it has been reported that both parties will wait until Sunday, the opening of free agency season, to make the official announcement, David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period, who has great connections with the Kings, has reported that Doughty has agreed to an eight-year contract which will make him the highest paid King on the roster.
The star blue liner can’t sign a new deal until July 1st but that doesn’t prevent the Kings from gauging the number he will want in a new deal and have this agreement in place until they make it official on Sunday. Next season, Doughty will play the final year of an eight-year, $56 million contract that he signed in 2011. Doughty’s current cap hit of $7 million is tied for the sixth-highest in the league among defensemen.
When asked about the signing by NHL insider Pierre LeBrun, GM Rob Blake said "we have been in discussions this week but certainly not done yet."
In the past, Doughty had made headline saying that he could test the free agent market. But after the Kings were eliminated from the playoffs in April, he said “I always wanted to be an L.A. King and I want to stay an L.A. King.”
The official announcement will surely be impatiently waited by Ottawa Senators captain Erik Karlsson, who was expected to be in contact with Doughty on his new deal.
“I know I’m going to talk to Karlsson back and forth, kind of see what money he’s looking for,” Doughty had explained back in November. “I’ll kind of look at what money I’m looking for. I don’t know if he’s going to re-sign with Ottawa. I don’t know if I’ll re-sign with L.A. You just never know what’s going to happen.”
After John Carlson signed an eight-year, $64 million contract extension with the Washington Capitals, many pundits were trying to predict the salary that would be offer to Doughty ahead of July 1st.
Doughty put up 10 goals and 60 points in 82 games this season but went pointless in the Kings’ first round series loss to the Vegas Golden Knights. However, his new contract could have him quite motivated for the season to come.