With Drew Doughty set to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2018-19 season, there appears to be some progress in contract talks between the Los Angeles Kings and their franchise defenceman.
“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,” Nick Kypreos said during the second intermission of Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final.
Doughty, 28, can’t sign a new deal until July 1 but that doesn’t prevent the Kings from gauging the number he will want in a new deal.
The London, Ont., native will play the final year of an eight-year, $56 million contract that he signed in 2011.
Back in November, Doughty said that he would discuss numbers with Karlsson to see what he would be seeking in a new contract.
“I know I’m going to talk to Karlsson back and forth, kind of see what money he’s looking for,” Doughty said in an interview with The Athletic in November. “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.”
“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.
Doughty put up 10 goals and 60 points in 82 games this season but went pointless in the Kings’ first round series loss to the Vegas Golden Knights.
Despite all the talk about his future in LA, Doughty also made it clear that he likes the direction the Kings are going in and would prefer to stay there.
“(General manager) Rob Blake and (team president) Luc Robitaille, they took this job because they want to win and they want to transform this team into their winning ways again,” Doughty told NHL.com back in April. “Whether or not they do a lot in the off-season, I don’t know, but we have these young guys coming up that I think are going to make a difference. I think that shows me how much potential we have in the future and I’m good with it and I’m happy to hopefully re-sign here”
If he does re-sign with the Kings, he can expect to make more than his current $7 million salary. Kypreos said the Kings are prepared to offer Doughty a deal that could be similar to captain Anze Kopitar’s contract.
“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.