Darryl Sutter’s contract may be close to expiring, but the Kings coach will be back behind the bench in Los Angeles next season.
Sutter has reportedly agreed to an extension with the Kings, according to Lisa Dillman of the Los Angeles Times, and the deal could be announced as early as Friday. Dillman reported that while no terms of the contract are available, it will pay the two-time Stanley Cup-winning coach more than $3 million per season.
The Kings locking up Sutter is huge for the continued success of the franchise and certainly helps give the franchise a clear direction before the off-season even begins. Had Los Angeles’ summer started with Sutter choosing to leave the club, the Kings would have needed to enter into the coaching search before they could really start moving forward. Sutter’s extension eliminates that need.
Sutter told Dillman that more important than his “own stuff” was the future of the club, which he wanted to ensure was in place before he signed back on.
“We have a lot of players that are free agents and a lot of young players that are close to playing here,” Sutter told Dillman. “As coaches, you’re trying to get through where you could be next year with your roster.”
One thing Sutter made clear to Dillman is that he’s on board with the changes, one of which seems to be a potential shift to bring younger talent into the NHL next season from the AHL affiliate, the Ontario Reign. The Reign are in their first season in the AHL after relocating to Southern California as part of the formation of the league’s Pacific Division. The Reign, formerly the Manchester Monarchs, won the Calder Cup in 2014-15 and currently hold a 2-1 series lead on the San Diego Gulls in the second round of this year’s post-season.
“That’s been fun, seeing a lot of those boys from last year’s playoffs to this year’s playoffs, seeing how they’ve come along,” Sutter told Dillman. “When we talk about our team next year, we have five or six guys that show they can contribute to our team. It’s been a really good experience for them to go through a long playoff run again.”
Among those who could make the full-time jump next season are Adrian Kempe, Michael Mersch and Nic Dowd.
Sutter has spent the past five seasons with Los Angeles, and has a record of 186-112-45 with the Kings. He led Los Angeles to Stanley Cups in 2011-12 and 2013-14, but the Kings missed the post-season in 2014-15 before a shocking first-round exit this past season.