LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Kings have agreed to terms on a multi-year entry-level contract with center Anze Kopitar
-- the club's first-round selection (11th overall) in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft -- Kings Senior Vice President/General Manager Dave Taylor announced today. Per club policy, terms of the agreement were not announced.
Kopitar, 18, is expected to make his Kings debut during this week's "Pacific Division Shootout," a four-team rookie tournament hosted by San Jose from September 7-11.
"We are definitely very happy to have this deal done with Anze and we are looking forward to seeing him compete this week and during our training camp later this month," said Taylor.
This past season, Kopitar collected 49 points (21-28=49) and 26 penalty minutes in 30 games with Sodertalje of the Swedish Junior League. The 6-2, 210-pound native of Jesenice, Slovenia, also finished the season with a plus/minus rating of plus-29. In addition, Kopitar appeared in five games with Sodertalje of the Swedish Men's League (5 GP, 0-0=0, 2 PIM), represented Slovenia at the 2005 World Junior Under-18 Championships (5 GP, 6-5=11, 14 PIM) and played for Slovenia at the 2005 World Championships (6 GP, 1-0=1, 2 PIM).
Prior to the NHL Entry Draft this past July, Kopitar was rated by Central Scouting as the number one European skater, and both The Hockey News and Red Line Report ranked him as the sixth best Draft-eligible prospect. Kopitar is expected to re-join Sodertalje (Swedish Men's League) in time for the start of their 2005-06 season.
"We are aware of Anze's desire to play at least one more year in Europe this coming season," said Taylor. "He has a very good development situation in Sodertalje and it is quite probable he will be assigned back to Sweden."
Kopitar is also one of eight first-round selections scheduled to participate in the club's 2005 training camp, which begins on Tuesday, September 13, at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo. Other first-round selections on the Kings training camp roster include: Jeremy Roenick (Chicago's 8th overall selection in 1988); Alexander Frolov (Kings' 20th overall selection in 2000); Tim Gleason (Ottawa's 23rd overall selection in 2001); Denis Grebeshkov (Kings' 18th overall selection in 2002); Dustin Brown
(Kings' 13th overall selection in 2003); Jeff Tambellini (Kings' 27th overall selection in 2003); and Lauri Tukonen (Kings' 11th overall selection in 2004).