Sutter Likes LA Core, Wishes to Stick Around
Darryl Sutter had a big question mark hanging over his head in regards to his future status with the Los Angeles Kings and his role as their head coach after the team lost their first-round playoff match-up to the San Jose Sharks. He erased those questions when he signed a contract extension for two years, with a team option the third year, for a reported $3 million-plus per season.
But Sutter likes the core in Los Angeles too much to walk away now, a key point in his return.
“When we went through it all it was clearly an easy decision. I wasn’t interested in going elsewhere,” Sutter said. “A lot of it came back to just the nucleus of our team, the ownership and the management – all the things – the coaching staff.”
Sutter expects his coaching staff, consisting of John Stevens and Davis Payne, to remain intact and return for 2016-17.
The Anaheim Ducks and Calgary Flames have openings and in the past, Stevens’ name had been mentioned at different spots, but the Kings reportedly wouldn’t let him interview.
Though the Kings have a few things to figure out financially — namely what to do with Dustin Brown and his contract that pays him through 2021-22 — but their core is still one of the better ones in the league with names like Drew Doughty, Jonathan Quick, Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter, Tyler Toffoli and others dotting the lineup. Of the first three, only Quick is over 30 years old and all three have been nominated for awards this season. Quick got a Vezina Trophy nod, Doughty a Norris nod and Kopitar is up for both the Lady Byng and Selke at the NHL Awards in June.
“As a coach to know you have (Jonathan) Quick and (Drew) Doughty and (Jake) Muzzin and (Alec) Martinez and (Anze) Kopitar and (Tyler) Toffoli and (Tanner) Pearson – players under contract that you know are going to be here for hopefully a long time, that’s what’s important,” Sutter said. “Every good team needs that nucleus.”
The biggest reason for all the questions surrounding his status has been his overwhelming success the last several years. The Kings have won two Stanley Cups since he was hired in 2011-12 and there have been questions if he wants to stop coaching soon to return to his ranch in Alberta and be with his family.
“This is not a new contract, this is an extension,” Sutter said. “I look at it like I have lots of coaching left.”