The Los Angeles Kings surprised a lot of people this season, reaching the postseason and pushing the Edmonton Oilers to seven games. The fact that the team also has arguably the best prospect pool in the entire league and cap room to spend this offseason puts them in an enviable position and one that has resulted in a nice reward for the Kings’ architect.
Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic reports that general manager Rob Blake has signed a three-year contract extension with the Kings, though the deal is not expected to be announced for another week or two. Blake was in the final season of his current contract, one which was set to expire at the end of June.
It wasn’t always glowing reviews for Blake, who took over in 2017 and was immediately welcomed by years of on-ice struggles. The Kings missed the playoffs in each of the three seasons previous to this one, posting winning percentages well below .500 in the process.
That, along with some moves to sell off high-priced assets including Jeff Carter, Alec Martinez, Tyler Toffoli, and Jake Muzzin, allowed the team to collect a huge number of prospects and draft picks that have quickly turned their aging core into an extremely young one.
Now, Blake will have the task of turning a playoff team into one that can legitimately challenge for the Stanley Cup, and much of that work will have to be done with restricted free agent negotiations this summer. Adrian Kempe leads the way in that regard following his breakout 35-goal season, but others like Mikey Anderson, Sean Durzi, and Carl Grundstrom will also be interesting cases to monitor.