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Quick, Kings make it look easy

by Rich Hammond / Los Angeles Kings

There won’t be any contract drama for the Kings this summer.

Jonathan Quick on Thursday agreed to a 10-year contract extension with the Kings, a deal that will take him through the 2022-23 season and his 37th birthday. Quick is coming off a brilliant season, one in which he finished second in Vezina Trophy voting and won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.

Per collective-bargaining rules, Quick cannot officially sign the contract until Sunday.

In a statement released by the Kings, president and general manager Dean Lombardi said, ”We are very happy to have a long-term agreement in place with one of our top young players.”

There was no imminent deadline for Quick and the Kings, given that Quick’s current deal doesn’t expire until next summer. Quick was, however, allowed to negotiate an extension now, and by all accounts the talks were speedy and harmonious, with both sides agreeing to talk about a long-term contract.

The deal not only allows the Kings to lock up one of the top goalies in the league, it also allows them to avoid the headaches of prolonged negotiations, and eliminates the threat that Quick, 26, might have tested the free-agent market next summer while in the prime of his career.

In the 2011-12 regular season, Quick ranked first in shutouts (10), second in goals-against average (1.95), tied for fifth in wins (35), tied for fifth in save percentage (.929) and fourth in games played (69). In 20 playoff games, Quick led all goalies with a 1.41 goals-against average and a .946 save percentage, and had three shutouts.

‘’Jonathan, he’s one of the players we’ve had for a long time in our organization,’’ Luc Robitaille, the Kings’ president of business operations, said in an interview on NHL Network. ‘’From Dean and Ron Hextall and our entire organization’s point of view, it was very important that we get things right with him. Everybody saw the kind of player he was in the playoffs. We’ve known, for the last three years, the kind of player he is. He’s putting up amazing statistics throughout that time.

‘’So it was important for us and our plan, for the next seven, eight, 10 years, knowing that we have Drew (Doughty) with us and Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown, Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, to make sure that he was part of our organization during that time.’’

Last summer, the Kings went through difficult negotiations with Drew Doughty, who missed all of training camp before he signed an eight-year contract less than 10 days before the start of the season.

Now, the Kings have a handful of their top players locked up for multiple years. In addition to Quick, Doughty is signed through 2019, Richards through 2020 and Carter through 2022. Kopitar has four more seasons left on his contract while Brown has two, and is eligible to sign an extension next summer.

‘’We want to build something special,’’ Robitaille said. ‘’Everybody knows Dean Lombardi is a great builder. You look back three or four years ago, and it’s safe to say that we took our time and we did things right. That being said, keep in mind that even though it looks good now, we signed Anze Kopitar before he became the player he is today, and we signed a few of those guys before. We took a gamble and it was the right gamble.

‘’That being said, they are being fairly compensated. At the same time, they’re helping our team. All these kids, they want to win. They want to have the opportunity to win more than one championship, and we feel we’re in a good position now, and for the next few years, that we’re going to compete for it every year.’’

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