Tanner Pearson smiled broadly as reporters surrounded him after he stayed on the ice for an extended period with several teammates after the Kings’ regulars completed their Thursday morning skate in El Segundo. He had plenty of reasons to be happy despite lacking medical clearance to play.
Pearson signed a two-season contract extension worth $2.8 million.
“It’s exciting news,” he said. “I was happy to get a deal done. To stay here is awesome, too.”
Pearson sat out Thursday night for the 35th consecutive game after suffering a broken leg. There is no timetable for his return to the ice, except as a practice player, and it’s expected that he won’t be cleared to play in a game by the end of the regular season April 11.
“Honestly, I don’t know,” he said of his possible return. “It’s still up in the air. I’m just taking it day-by-day. I’m hoping to return as soon as possible. I still have a bit more healing to do. I don’t want to close it (returning by April 11). There’s always a chance of seeing another X-ray and you’re good to go.”
Pearson had 12 goals and 16 points in 42 games before he was hurt Jan. 10 against the Winnipeg Jets. He played a major role in the Kings’ early-season success, joining with center Jeff Carter and fellow winger Tyler Toffoli to form That 70s Line. Wednesday, he was happy they would be reunited for two more seasons.
“I want to be here as long as possible,” he said of signing his new deal. “I love L.A. I love the team, the fans and everything about it. It’s one of the best places to play in my opinion. So, to be here for at least another two years is special.”