At a news conference introducing John Stevens as the King’s head coach, Blake was asked about Gaborik and the players’ future with the team. Blake said Gaborik was not 100 percent last season and recently had a non-specified procedure. Blake also said Gaborik won’t be ready for the start of training camp.
“I don’t think he was completely healthy this year. Let’s say it’ll be a clean slate for Marian to come in and prove himself,” Blake said. “He’s one of the players we’ll talk about tomorrow that did have a procedure and he’s out an extended period of time. He’s not going to be healthy until into training camp, past that.”
The 35-year-old Gaborik is entering the fourth season of a seven-year, $34.125 million contract, which equates to a $4.875 million salary cap hit per-year. Last season he scored 10 goals and notched 21 points in 56 games played. The year before he had 12 goals and 22 points in 54 games.
Gaborik’s best season since signing the deal came in 2014-15 when he had 27 goals in 69 games. Los Angeles traded for him before the team’s 2014 Stanley Cup run and he had 14 goals in 26 postseason games that year.
Because of his age and declining production there were questions on whether the Kings should cut ties with Gaborik to give Los Angeles some salary cap room. Gaborik was also a healthy scratch at points last season.
LA Kings Insider pointed out that with a buyout, Gaborik’s salary cap hit would have lessened to $1.125 million 2017-18, $1.625 million in 2018-19, $3.025 million in 2019-20, $3.125 million in 2020-21, and $1.325 million from 2021-22 through 2024-25
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