Through all the negotiations between the Kings and Drew Doughty’s representatives, through the tense moments and final happy moments when Doughty agreed to an eight-year, $56-million deal Thursday, one person remained above the fray.
That was center Anze Kopitar, who was thrust into the middle of an uncomfortable situation after Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi declared he would not pay Doughty more than the $6.8-million average annual value of Kopitar’s contract, then the highest on the team.
Kopitar became a benchmark in the talks, a role he didn’t want and didn’t enjoy. He also became part of the back story because he used to employ Doughty’s agent, Don Meehan, before switching to another high-powered agent, Pat Brisson.
Meehan seemed determined in these negotiations to get more money for Doughty, his current client, than the amount earned by his former client, Kopitar. To complicate matters even more, Meehan and Lombardi had a history of battles while Lombardi was general manager of the San Jose Sharks.