Darryl Sutter says Kings' core major reason for contract decision

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Darryl Sutter says Kings' core major reason for contract decision
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Darryl Sutter likes the core of the Los Angeles Kings and thinks they can all help him achieve a goal of winning another Stanley Cup.

This is why Sutter signed a contract extension for two years (with a team option for a third year) for a reported $3 million-plus per-season. Sutter’s contract was up after the season, and there were some questions as to whether he would return to the organization after they lost in the first-round of the playoffs to the San Jose Sharks.

“When we went through it all it was clearly an easy decision. I wasn’t interested in going elsewhere,” Sutter said. “A lot of it came back to just the nucleus of our team, the ownership and the management – all the things – the coaching staff.”

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As for the coaching staff of John Stevens and Davis Payne, Sutter said “that’s correct” when asked if the expectation was they would all return next season.

The Anaheim Ducks and Calgary Flames have openings and in the past, Stevens’ name had been mentioned at different spots, but the Kings reportedly wouldn’t let him interview.

Overall Sutter didn’t just see financial security with the Kings in his contract. He also saw consistency in the lineup with their star players. The Kings do have a few contracts they need to figure out how to deal with – mainly Dustin Brown’s contract that pays him through 2021-22. But Sutter kept the conversation mostly on LA’s top guys.

“As a coach to know you have (Jonathan) Quick and (Drew) Doughty and (Jake) Muzzin and (Alec) Martinez and (Anze) Kopitar and (Tyler) Toffoli and (Tanner) Pearson – players under contract that you know are going to be here for hopefully a long time, that’s what’s important,” Sutter said. “Every good team needs that nucleus.”

This season Quick (Vezina Trophy), Doughty (Norris Trophy) and Kopitar (Lady Byng and Selke Trophy) were all finalists for major NHL awards. Out of the three, only Quick is 30-or-older.

Sutter has spent a fair amount of time the last several weeks watching Los Angeles’ AHL affiliate, the Ontario Reign. His son Brett is on the team and also Sutter wanted to gauge some of the organization’s minor league players. The Kings have struggled to produce NHL regulars out of the minors the last couple of years and Sutter wanted to get a better sense of who could possibly fit where in Los Angeles.

“We need two or three of the next group to (make the next step). That’s key for us,” Sutter said.

Sutter has had a longstanding relationship with general manager Dean Lombardi, back to when Lombardi was the GM of the San Jose Sharks and Sutter was his coach from 1997-98 through 2002-03.

Also his family likes Los Angeles and the Kings have embraced him and his son Christopher.

“If I don’t sound excited because I don’t have to sound excited because you know Christopher is,” Darryl said.

Because Sutter has been so successful the last several years – he has won two Stanley Cups since he was hired in the 2011-12 season – there have been questions if he wants to stop coaching sooner rather than later and return to his ranch in rural Alberta. Sutter doesn’t think he’s near finished.

“This is not a new contract, this is an extension,” Sutter said. “I look at it like I have lots of coaching left.”

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

 

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