One of the major items on the offseason, to-do list for the Los Angeles Kings was accomplished Tuesday when they reached a contract agreement with their young star defenseman Slava Voynov.
Voynov’s deal is for six years and $25 million. He would have become a restricted free agent on July 5.
This, by all accounts, was a breakout season for the 23-year-old Russian, who shouldered increased responsibility because of injuries to defensemen Willie Mitchell and Matt Greene. He had six goals and 25 points, playing in all 48 games of the lockout-shortened season.
Voynov took another big step forward in the playoffs, scoring six goals — four of them game-winners — during the Kings’ run to the Western Conference final. Two of his game-winning goals came in the first-round series against the St. Louis Blues.
The only other King player with more than one game-winning goal in the playoffs was Justin Williams, who had two.
The marketplace was set for young defensemen in May when the Phoenix Coyotes signed Oliver Ekman-Larsson to a six-year contract extension worth $33 million. More recently, the Nashville Predators signed Roman Josi to a seven-year, $28-million deal.
Josi, like Voynov, is 23. Ekman-Larsson will turn 22 on July 17.
Meanwhile, there seems to be no shortage of interest in soon-to-be restricted free agent goalie Jonathan Bernier. He will probably be moved by the time the NHL draft takes place June 30.