Lucrative contracts reward the past and the future. And Sutter, the
The deal came together hours before the Kings played and lost to the
For the 28-year-old Kopitar, the first four years of the contract extension feature a no-move clause, and the final four include a limited no-trade clause, according to a source familiar with the negotiations who was not authorized to comment.
The contract puts Kopitar in the upper echelon of league stars and allows the Kings to keep their
He will be the league's highest-paid player next season, just ahead of Chicago stars
"I've been part of this organization when we went through pretty big struggles and not very fun years when we played," said Kopitar, who was drafted by the Kings in 2005. "We turned that around. Obviously, the last few years have been pretty exciting for everybody.
"Last year was not the year we wanted, but still, we were right there in the mix. Knowing that you have a winning team, that's what makes you want to stay here for an extended period of time."
The Kings and Kopitar broke new ground for the franchise in the salary-cap era. Previously, the team's biggest deal was goalie
Quick's extension came together with uncommon speed as negotiations took weeks, not months. Kopitar originally had hoped his extension could get wrapped up before arriving at training camp.
Still, nearly everyone expected it would get done. Even Sutter joked that it wasn't exactly "breaking news."
"I didn't really have any doubts," Kopitar said. "I guess I didn't know. But I was hoping it was going to get done. I was leaning toward getting it done, than doubting it. Never really thought that far.
"…Again, you realize it's a business, it's a process. When two parties collide like that, it can go a little bit longer. This one was a bit longer and it's done now."
The Kopitar deal, as expected, is north of the extensions signed by the likes of
Said Sutter: "The bottom line with a guy like Kopitar is that his best years are in front of him. Guys get rewarded for winning Stanley Cups and when they're with one franchise for that period of time … when you've won Cups.
"Everybody is looking forward to the next part with him."
Kopitar has 16 points in the last 10 games, including an assist on Tyler Toffoli's goal Saturday, which put the Kings ahead, 3-1, at 3:05 of the third period. It was Toffoli's 21st of the season.
Then came the collapse.
Former Ducks star Bobby Ryan had a big day for the slumping Senators, scoring once and setting up
"Just what the doctor ordered? — I would agree with that," said Ryan. "Going down two goals there is just so disheartening. With where we're at in the season, you try to rally around it, but mentally it gets tough. We needed one break — and we got one. Now let's get the car started and get out of here."
The game-winning goal came on a rare Senators power-play goal — they'd dropped to 23rd in the league with the man advantage. Before that, Senators forward Jean-Gabriel Pageau tied the game at 3-3 with an unassisted effort at 8:34, taking advantage of a miscue by Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin.
The Ryan and Pageau goals came 26 seconds apart. Scoring earlier for the Kings were
"We were lucky to ever have the lead in the game," Sutter said. "We had a lot of guys just playing shinny out there. We've been playing sloppy for quite a few games now. We've used fatigue as an excuse the last three or four games.
"We didn't get much from top to bottom today."
Ottawa turned its season around last year during a trip to Southern California, and Ryan said the Senators were hoping to do it again. To win against Los Angeles, Ryan said: "It's huge, for a morale standpoint and for a locker-room standpoint, to know we can do it."