Darryl Sutter has come to contract terms with the Los Angeles Kings.
The Times said the deal is in excess of $3 million per-year.
This keeps Toronto's Mike Babcock as the highest-paid coach in the NHL with a contract worth $50 million over eight years.
Last week, Kings general manager Dean Lombardi said Sutter had an offer “on the table” from the team. Then over the weekend, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported Sutter had some concerns about the Kings in regards to their salary cap/free agency situation and their prospects.
Sutter noted that reports of his waffling on the Kings have been overblown to a degree in a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times.
“I have no desire to go anywhere else or do any of that. We’ll get it worked out. That’s my plan,” he said.
Sutter, who has won two Stanley Cups with the Kings while amassing a 186-112-45 record since being hired by LA during the 2011-12 season, also pointed out the importance of making sure the Kings’ roster was in top shape next year after consecutive disappointing seasons. Since winning the Stanley Cup in 2014, the Kings missed the playoffs in 2015 and then lost in the first-round of the postseason this year to the San Jose Sharks in five games.
The Kings have some of the top high-end talent in the league in Selke Trophy finalist Anze Kopitar, Norris Trophy finalist Drew Doughty and Vezina Trophy finalist Jonathan Quick. They're also built to play the type of bruising, cycling puck protection game Sutter favors. But they also have some difficult contracts.
Captain Dustin Brown, 31, averages $5.875 million per-year and is signed through the 2021-22 season. He scored just 11 goals in 2015-16 in 82 games. Forward Marian Gaborik, 34, scored 12 goals in 54 games this past season, and is under contract at a $4.875 million salary cap hit through the 2020-21 season.
LA's prospect pipeline hasn't pushed a lot of high-end players to the NHL the last couple of years.
“We have a lot of players that are free agents and a lot of young players that are close to playing here. As coaches, you’re trying to get through where you could be next year with your roster. That was more important to me the last two or three weeks than any of my stuff,” Sutter said. “The [contract] parameters are pretty clear. We just wanted to make sure … trying to get everything lined up to make sure everything works out.”
The story notes that LA is a good personal fit for the 57-year-old Sutter, who hails originally from Viking, Alberta.
His wife Wanda and son Chris have been able to spend more time in Los Angeles with him the last several years. His oldest son Brett plays for the Kings’ AHL affiliate in Ontario California.
It was unclear if Sutter was open to entertaining other offers, though it seemed unlikely considering his fit with the Kings. The LA Daily News listed him as a possible candidate for the Anaheim Ducks' head coaching job.
The Kings have not publicly commented on the status of their assistant coaches. Sutter and assistants David Payne and John Stevens have been together since before the 2012-13 season. Stevens has been a hot commodity for head coaching positions in the past, but was not allowed to interview. This may have been because Stevens could eventually replace Sutter when/if Sutter decides to stop coaching.
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