Dom Luszczyszyn at The Athletic recently published his grades for every NHL franchise’s contracts they currently have signed. The LA Kings, who were 31st in these grades last year, shot up to lucky No. 13.
The Kings received a B-.
Of the teams in the Pacific Division, only the Vegas Golden Knights and Calgary Flames received better grades.
Here’s the Kings’ report card:
Luszczyszyn is really pleased with the Kevin Fiala deal. Considering how productive he was last year and the other contracts handed out around the league this offseason, Fiala’s $7.875 million cap hit over the next seven seasons looks pretty solid on paper. Of course, the former Minnesota Wild forward is coming off a career-best 85 points, which was significantly better than his previous career-high of 54 points in the 2019-20 season.
The Kings still have plenty of red on their report, but it’s significantly better than last year.
Of those in red, Anze Kopitar and Adrian Kempe stand out on the offensive side of the puck. The former turns 35 at the end of the month and looked, at times, like he had lost a step last year. Kopitar once again led the Kings in points (67), but it marked the fourth straight year that he’s failed to eclipse the 70-point mark. We’ll give him a pass for the shortened 56-game schedule in 2021, though. Still under contract for another two seasons at $10 million AAV, Kopitar will need to find the fountain of youth to keep up with Fiala and Kempe this year.
Speaking of Kempe, the Swedish forward is coming off a career-best 35-goal season. He was deservedly paid this summer, with a $5.5 million cap hit coming in each of the next four seasons. He will need to prove that last year was not a one-off.
While Doughty is in red again, Luszczyszyn praises the former Norris Trophy winner for returning to form last year. The 32-year-old was a highly productive player but was slowed by two injuries. Doughty comes at an $11 million cap hit in each of the next five years to finish out his eight-year contract extension. Assuming he doesn’t have similar run-ins with the injury bug, the London, Ontario native should be well-positioned to pick up where he left off.
The Kings, of course, still have yet to re-sign defensemen Mikey Anderson and Sean Durzi.
How did the rest of the Kings’ division rank?
6. Calgary Flames
9. Vegas Golden Knights
14. Vancouver Canucks
15. Seattle Kraken
16. Edmonton Oilers
17. Anaheim Ducks