Dean Lombardi spent the past week fielding congratulatory phone calls from his colleagues after his Los Angeles Kings captured the Stanley Cup.
Now here come the thank-you cards.
Lombardi made a lot of his fellow general managers very happy today when he re-signed star forward Marian Gaborik to a new, long-term deal. The contract comes in at seven years--a bit lengthy for a player edging toward his 33rd birthday, especially one who has a bit of an injury history (hip, knee, assorted dings like the broken collarbone that required surgery last December))--but the cap-friendly AAV of just $4.9 million makes it a solid bargain for the Kings...and a valuable comparable for teams that are looking to save a few bucks while securing talent over the summer.
Gaborik didn't have to take that kind of haircut coming off a deal that paid him $7.5 million annually. The flashy winger was an integral part of the Kings' championship run, leading the postseason in goal scoring, so In terms of bargaining power, you can't walk into a negotiation with a much bigger stick than that. But he traded money up front for term and in doing so secured his future with a team he clearly wants to be a part of.
Will he be grossly overpaid toward the end of the deal? Probably, but in the meantime he'll help prop the championship window open in Los Angeles for the next several years. Lombardi now can keep the core of the team intact (unpack your bags, Mike Richards) while maintaining some flexibility to add another piece or two when the iron is hot.
It's a great fit both on the ice and in the ledger.