General manager Dean Lombardi said last week he hoped to bring back the Kings’ lineup intact for another long Stanley Cup playoff run. He took a significant step in realizing that goal when he and defenseman Slava Voynov agreed to a six-season contract extension. Lombardi signed defenseman Robyn Regehr to a two-year extension during the playoffs, keeping him off the market when free agency opens early next month.
There are several other Kings potential free agents, including left wing Dustin Penner and defenseman Rob Scuderi. But it appeared Voynov was atop Lombardi’s off-season to-do list. Voynov has yet to play a full 82-game NHL season, but with 45 career points (14 goals, 31 assists in 102 games with the Kings, it appeared the 23-year-old was well worth re-signing. Early reports had the deal worth $25 million.
“When you see one guy get done (re-sign), you can’t work in isolation,” Lombardi said June 9, the day after the Kings were ousted from the Western Conference finals by the Chicago Blackhawks. “We’ve had informal discussions (with player agents) during the playoffs. … There’s no question this is a very tight group. It’s one of the best places in the country to live. Players want to be here because we’re a good team and we want to win.
“I’m confident these guys want to stay together. You’re not going to let good young players go for nothing.”
Voynov was the Kings’ second-round draft pick in 2008 (32nd overall). He spent three full seasons with the Manchester (N.H.) Monarchs of the American Hockey League before the Kings could not longer keep him in the minor leagues. He played 54 games in 2011-12 and 20 more during the Kings’ run to the Stanley Cup.
He’s a capable puck-mover and a threat to score from the perimeter. Kings coach Darryl Sutter paired the Russian with the stay-at-home Scuderi in keeping with Sutter’s desire to blend offense with defense throughout the team’s defense corps.