The Los Angeles Kings have reached a verbal agreement on a multi-year contract with prized defenceman Drew Doughty.
According to TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie, the deal is an eight-year contract worth $56 million.
"The Kings had been very public and very emphatic that they were not going to pay any more than $6.8 million a year," McKenzie said. "They obviously came off of that and went to $7 million. They got the deal done and got the extra year for their troubles - from seven to eight years - and they're content with that."
The agreement brings to a close what was believed to be a difficult negotiation between Doughty and Kings that had dragged through the summer and into September with very little progress. Doughty missed all five of Los Angeles' pre-season games as negotiations dragged on.
"The two sides have been at an impasse since the beginning of training camp and it was only today that general manager Dean Lombardi reached out to Don Meehan, the agent for Doughty, and got things re-established," McKenzie said.
"This is a big year for the LA Kings," McKenzie continued. "They feel like they need Doughty in the lineup and if they don't, it's a huge hole."
Doughty, flew to Los Angeles on Friday and addressed the media.
"I'm not happy that I had to go through all that, but now that it's done, I'm just happy I'm here, happy to be a member of the LA Kings," Doughty said. "I apologize to all those who had to patiently wait for me to get here, but now that I'm here, I'm fully committed to making this team better."
Doughty, like many in the organization, feels that Kings are in position to make a run deep into the playoffs.
"We're going to be a good team, and I know we're not going to be satisfied without making that Stanley Cup Final and winning that Cup," Doughty stated. "I know all of us believe we have the guys to do it."
The 21-year-old has built a strong resume after three NHL seasons. The native of London, Ontario has 126 points in 239 contests while quarterbacking the Kings' power play, and was a finalist for the Norris Trophy after the 2009-10 season. He was also named the Kings Outstanding Defenceman for three straight seasons and he was voted as the clubs best newcomer following his first year with the Kings. He was also on the gold medal-winning Canadian team at the Vancouver Winter Olympics.
Doughty statistically ranks among the best defencemen to ever play for the Kings. His nine career game-winning goals ranks fourth all-time among Kings defencemen and his 17 career power-play goals ranks ninth all-time. He also ranks 12th on the all-time list in career goals (33), 13th on the all-time list in both career assists (93) and career points (126), and tied for 15th on the all-time list in career plus/minus rating (plus-16).
The 6-foot, 211-pound defenceman was the Kings' first-round choice, second overall, in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.