The rumblings had been growing louder that a deal between the LA Kings and Marian Gaborik was close. On Wednesday the deal became a reality as Gaborik re-signed after a tremendous postseason for the Stanley Cup champions.
That new deal that kept him from hitting the free-agent market? It's for seven more seasons, meaning Gaborik is under contract through his age 39 season in LA.
Very excited to be a part of great team and great organization #LAKings for the next 7years.— Marian Gaborik (@MGaborik10) June 25, 2014
That's a lot of years for any player on the wrong side of 30, especially one that has injury issues often but the price isn't bad at all for Gaborik. Pierre LeBrun reports it's for an annual average of $4.875 million ($34.125 million total), a significant drop from the last contract that had a $7.5 million cap hit.
"I know I get maybe more money if I'd gone UFA but it wasn't about money," Gaborik said. "I wanted to stay here."
Here's the thing: indeed it's a long time and yes, it could look like a bad deal in five or six years from now but LA shouldn't be worried about that for the moment. They got an elite scorer who clearly fit in very well with what they're doing in LA for less than $5 million against the salary cap for many years to come. Their window is open now and they're trying to win while that's still the case. In the meantime, that's a very nice fit on a team that's close to the cap.
In fact, it could be a great deal for the Kings, which is kind of a Dean Lombardi special. They can worry about the back end of the contract later but who knows, maybe even by then when the cap his risen a lot Gaborik might still be worth the cost at that point, he's a natural scorer who hasn't lived off abnormally high shooting percentages or anything like that.
Just wait until we see some of the contracts other free agents sign -- for example, Dave Bolland is reportedly seeking about the same annual salary as Gaborik for eight seasons -- to really shine a light on how good this deal could be for LA. Six years is a long time from now, the Kings have a lot of time until they have to worry about that.
It's also worth noting Gaborik said he doesn't have a no-trade clause in his new contract, so if the time comes that the Kings want to move him, that's one big hurdle they wouldn't have to clear.
Gaborik was acquired by the Kings at the trade deadline from Columbus when his value had plummeted. His high contract combined with an ineffective season plagued by injuries allowed the Kings to acquire Gaborik for Matt Frattin, a second-rounder in 2014 or 15 and and 2014 third-rounder.
Acquired to give the Kings more scoring punch, all he did after that was have one of the top goal-scoring postseasons in Kings history with 14 goals in 26 games. The fit was excellent and it was obvious why the two sides would want to continue their relationship, even if it did probably cost Gaborik some money.
In his career with the Wild, Rangers, Blue Jackets and Kings, 347 goals in 810 career games including 41 goals in 2011-12. Last season between Columbus and LA he had 11 goals and 19 assists in just 41 games but had the tear in the postseason to help ease concerns about a rapidly declining skill set.