According to Sportsnet reporter and NHL insider Nick Kypreos, contract talks between Los Angeles Kings general manager Rob Blake and superstar defenseman Drew Doughty are “going well”, but as of yet there’s no sign of a imminent deal. It’s worth noting, of course, that Doughty is technically ineligible to sign an extension with the team until July 1st, 2018.
During last night’s Saturday Headlines segment on CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada broadcast, Kypreos was quoted as saying that, “Talks are going well but not to the point where I think he’s going to reset the bar as many expected with Erik Karlsson also coming up in 2019.”
The 28 year old Doughty will play out the final year of his eight year, $56 million deal in 2018-19 and, if he goes unsigned before then, he’ll hit the open market as an unrestricted free agent next offseason. Should that happen, he’d be the biggest prize UFA on the market, depending on what fellow defenseman Erik Karlsson elects to do with the Ottawa Senators.
So… what kind of money is Doughty looking at if he were to re-up with the Kings? “They understand in LA that Kopitar is the highest paid at $10 million but he will not get much higher than that, [maybe] 10-and-a-half, 11. But if they’re going to compete… it can’t go past a Connor McDavid contract,” Kypreos said.
For those keeping score at home, McDavid’s deal pays him an average of $12.5 million per year for the next eight seasons.
You may recall that Doughty made headlines earlier this season when he expressed his desire to re-sign with the Kings, but admitted that he wouldn’t be taking a discount to remain with the team. If he’s a King for life, they’ll have to pay a steep price for his services.
“I know I’m going to talk to Karlsson back and forth, kind of see what money he’s looking for,” Doughty said to The Athletic’s Craig Custance back in November, 2018. “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.”
It’s clear, however that Doughty is eyeing Nashville Predators defenseman P.K. Subban and his $9 million annual salary.
“Right now, I guess we’d be gauging off what P.K. makes. I think both of us deserve quite a bit more than that,” Doughty said.