Los Angeles Kings Getting a Big Bargain with Jake Muzzin’s 5-Year Extension

The Los Angeles Kings, a well-run team with a track record of recent success, made another smart move on Wednesday which should help that success continue, signing defenceman Jake Muzzin to a five-year contract extension.

That’s a very good deal for a legitimate difference-maker, but it’s especially good because most of the years on that contract are ones where Muzzin could have gone on the open market as an unrestricted free agent:

Nobody denies that Muzzin is a good hockey player. The 25-year-old is a complete defenceman with a nice collection of tools. He has pro size (6’3”, 214 pounds) and plays a physical game in the defensive zone. He can take and make a pass. He has a heavy shot. He’s a good skater. About the only problem with his game coming up the ranks was a perception that he would try to do too much and get caught running around, a difficulty that has ironed itself out with time and experience.

For a good player, a legitimate second-pairing defenceman, the contract Muzzin just signed is pretty reasonable but isn’t a steal. The question is whether Muzzin is a great player, a legitimate top-pairing defender for whom this deal represents a significant underpay given his talents.

Many around the league don’t tend to give full marks to Muzzin for his performance, instead crediting his outstanding partner Drew Doughty for his exceptional results.

“Jake Muzzin is the best defenseman in the NHL according to Corsi,” the Toronto Sun’s Steve Simmons told The Hockey News in August. “There are teams he probably couldn’t play for.”

It’s safe to say that Simmons’ view of Muzzin as a guy who wouldn’t be a top-six defender on some teams around the NHL falls well outside the norm, but his comments do reflect a belief that he benefits from playing alongside Doughty...

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