Marian Gaborik Re-Signs with Kings: Latest Contract Details and Reaction

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJune 25, 2014

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Winger Marian Gaborik parlayed a spectacular postseason run into a hefty contract as the Slovakian star signed a seven-year deal with the Los Angeles Kings.  

The team confirmed the deal in a release on its website.

Gaborik also spoke about his return to Los Angeles on his Twitter account:

Nick Kyperos of Sportsnet had the reported terms of the deal between the two sides:

ESPN's Pierre LeBrun provides a year-by-year breakdown:

Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star had more insight into Gaborik's contract:

Gaborik has long been viewed as one of the NHL's most talented offensive players, but there were often questions about his ability to stay healthy and whether or not he was capable of raising his game when it mattered most.

Although Gaborik did miss nearly half of the regular season with knee and collarbone injuries, he was absolutely immense down the stretch after being traded from the Columbus Blue Jackets to the Los Angeles Kings.

Gaborik was instrumental in the Kings' run toward a second Stanley Cup title in three years as he put up 22 points and led the playoffs in goal scoring, according to ESPN Stats & Info:

Gaborik's trade to the Kings didn't make a lot of waves initially as he never seemed to fit well in Columbus' system, but it ultimately proved to be the biggest deadline deal of the season and perhaps one of the most significant of all time.

It just so happens that Gaborik fit in with the Kings' system and roster like a glove and he was exactly what L.A. needed to get over the top. Gaborik's synergy with center Anze Kopitar was particularly impressive and it was something the Kings envisioned as soon as they acquired him, per Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo! Sports:

Gaborik unquestionably made himself a lot of money by proving capable of producing when it matters most, but the big challenge now is continuing it. Gaborik is a three-time scorer of 40 goals in the regular season, but he hasn't come close to matching that pace over the past couple seasons.

The fact that he is now 32 years of age is also somewhat of a concern since players generally don't get more durable as they get older. Players do get savvier, though, and it became clear during the postseason that Gaborik has evolved as a player.

NHL Connected touched on Gaborik's durability and what it means for him and the Kings going forward:

Not only did he score 14 goals, but he did it in a variety of ways. He was dangerous on the power play, unleashed his deadly accurate shot and was even willing to go to the dirty areas in front of the net for the betterment of the team.

Perhaps Gaborik isn't quite as dynamic or explosive as he was early in his career, but he is more complete than he ever has been. That includes his presence in the locker room as Kings general manager Dean Lombardi has had nothing but good things to say about Gaborik's character in addition to his on-ice skills, according to Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com.

He's a great kid. The one thing our scouts did was before the deadline, everyone knew we were looking for offense and the digging they did, they found out about him as a person. Because we knew if he got into our room and he was a good person, there's a good chance he was going to acclimate given the way those guys were in the room. It started with him. The marks he got as a person and a teammate were first class.

All of those factors set up Gaborik to be one of the hottest properties in a free-agent class that was viewed as quite thin by most. It isn't often that potentially elite scorers and playoff performers hit the open market, and those are both accurate descriptions of Gaborik.

Los Angeles clearly didn't want Gaborik to test those waters and locked him up before other suitors could make their pitch.

It will be interesting to see if Gaborik's playoff heroics will carry over to the 2014-15 regular season or if they were simply an aberration. It is always difficult to tell how players will react to big-money contracts, but it definitely seems as though Gaborik has turned the corner as a player.

If he continues on this upward trajectory he is currently experiencing, then he will be well worth the money he has coming to him.

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