The NHL offseason has arrived and teams are starting to look at their pending free agents to see who they can bring back and who they want to let go as expendable assets. The Los Angeles Kings only recently hoisted Lord Stanley’s Cup and they’re already having to face tough decisions on where to go next this offseason to make sure they’re in a position to better defend their Stanley Cup title than they were in the 2013 campaign.
Los Angeles is basking in Stanley Cup glory thanks in large part to Marian Gaborik, who is due for a new contract this summer. With Mike Richards’ situation seemingly taken care of, the Kings will now focus their efforts on trying to get Gaborik locked down in a decent long term deal.
According to The Toronto Sun, the Kings are offering Gaborik a modest three-year, $15 million contract offer to return and defend the cup in 2014-15.
The Kings aren’t trading Mike Richards or buying him out. That’s the plan. But they aren’t happy paying a third- or fourth-liner first-line money and they’ve told him that. Los Angeles wants to keep leading playoff goal scorer Marian Gaborik — they’ve offered three years and $15 million, which would require a hometown discount of sorts. To keep Gaborik and Richards, it means sacrificing a veteran free agent defenceman like Willie Mitchell or Matt Greene
It’s yet to be seen how Gaborik feels about this deal, but he may end up trying to test his luck on the open market before looking back at Los Angeles. Then again, he’s never had as much quick success in his career as he’s had with the Kings and the allure of winning a second Stanley Cup in his career might be too enticing to pass up.