The LA Kings have locked up forward Marian Gaborik for the next seven seasons. The contract sees the 32-year-old earning $4.875m a season and a whopping total of $34.1m over the course of the new deal.
At first I was shocked at the price tag of this contract. But then again, when you look at what this guy accomplished for the LA Kings, it’s hard to argue. Gaborik had a positive impact on the Kings the moment he was acquired in March from the Columbus Blue Jackets.
He accumulated 16 points in just 19 regular season games. It was like this guy had woken up. He meshed really well with teammates Dustin Brown and Jeff Carter. And that chemistry only increased in the playoffs. Marian Gaborik was a game changer for the Kings all throughout their Stanley Cup campaign. He ended the playoffs with 14 goals to his name, with the end result eventually seeing Maran Gaborik hoist his first Stanley Cup.
However, I’m still quite surprised at the length of the contract. Seven years is quite considerable for a player who is already 32. Plus, there have been doubts about the condition of Gaborik and whether or not he’ll be able to stay healthy.
He’s struggled with some pretty lengthy injuries over the course of his career so far. Also, I believe it’s a very risky move to make right on the verge of the NHL draft. There is no telling what kind of deals they may have to pass up due to cap restrictions as a result of this contract.
In fact, I have no idea how the Kings even found the cap space to make this deal happen. The bottom line is this deal may end up hurting the Kings in the long run. Other teams have attempted to lock up players with similar contracts and all have ended up costing the team crazy amounts of money.
The most recent example of this would be New York Rangers forward Brad Richards. The Rangers signed Richards to a nine year $50m contract. He was currently in year six of that deal and has now been bought out by the organization. This will cost them a total of $12.6m over a 12 year period.
I know with the timeframe, it doesn’t seem like much, but at the end of the day it’s an annoying bill that the team has to budget in now. The Philadelphia Flyers are in a similar situation with veteran forward Vincent Lecavalier. However, he will most likely be traded instead of being bought out.
The Toronto Maple Leafs signed David Bolland to a massive long term deal and he got injured and missed most of his first season. New Jersey Devils forward Ilya Kovalchuk signed a 17 year, $102m contract with New Jersey and cost the team millions and several first round draft picks. And the funny thing is Kovalchuk isn’t even playing with the Devils anymore.
I’m glad that Gaborik has been playing better and settled in well with his new team. He did absolutely everything to earn his Stanley Cup ring. He’s a great all round player and will certainly help the Kings succeed going forward. But I have to wonder if he’ll be yet another name placed on the list of players that have been bought out due to cap trouble in the next few years.