By Allan Muir
It’s been a busy day for Los Angeles Kings general manager Dean Lombardi. Minutes after introducing Rob Blake as the team’s new assistant GM, Lombardi announced that captain Dustin Brown had signed an eight-year contract extension.
Brown, 28, will earn $47 million over the course of the deal for an average annual value of $5.875 million. His current deal runs through the 2013-14 season and carries a bargain cap hit of $3.175 million.
That’s not to say his new contract isn’t a fair deal. He might be overpaid if all that counted was the points he put on the board — he’s a reliable second-tier scorer — but Brown’s value is magnified by his physical presence, his commitment and his leadership.
“He has a passionate caring for this franchise and is totally embedded in being part of it be successful,” Lombardi said on the Kings’ website. “That’s the hallmark, first and foremost, of any great leader, and he just resonates that whenever you’re around him. This deal is designed to make sure it goes right to the end.”
Lombardi now has his top-four forwards — Brown, Jeff Carter, Mike Richards and Anze Kopitar — locked up through the 2015-16 season or beyond, but he still has some work to do on the bottom six. Kyle Clifford, Trevor Lewis and Jordan Nolan remain as unsigned RFAs, and Lombardi has just over $2 million to get them done. That’s probably not going to work out, which means Clifford is likely headed for the trading block.