Latest contract signings, buyouts & more in this morning’s collections of notable NHL headlines.
MIAMI HERALD: The Florida Panthers will re-signed defenseman Aaron Ekblad to an eight-year $60-million contract expected to be officially announced in the coming days.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ekblad, 20, is entering the final season of his entry-level contract. His new deal kicks in for 2017-18 at an annual cap hit of $7.5 million. We shouldn’t be surprised by this move. Winner of the 2015 Calder Trophy as NHL rookie of the year, Ekblad continued to improve in his sophomore campaign last season. He was the Panthers best defenseman in 2015-16. His best seasons are still well ahead of him. At his current rate of development, he could become a Norris Trophy candidate within the next three years. He’s quickly become a key part of the Panthers young foundation and should remain so for years. Yes, it’s an expensive signing, but Ekblad’s worth it.
BOSTON HERALD: The Bruins re-signed defenseman Torey Krug to a four-year deal worth $5.25 million per season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a reasonable contract for the 25-year-old Krug and avoids the uncertainty of a possible arbitration battle. The deal also takes him up to age 29, two years past UFA eligibility. Over the last two seasons, Krug emerged as the Bruins most reliable offensive blueliner, leading their d-men in assists (40) and points (44) last season.
NBC SPORTS: The Buffalo Sabres re-signed defenseman Jake McCabe to a three-year, $4.8 million contract.
CBS SPORTS: Several defensemen were bought out of their contracts yesterday. The notables include the Boston Bruins’ Dennis Seidenberg, Tampa Bay Lightning’ Matt Carle, Nashville Predators’ Barret Jackman and Carolina Hurricanes’ James Wisniewski.
TSN: Jared Cowen’s medical status prevent the Toronto Maple Leafs from buying out the defenseman.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: Dustin Brown admits losing the captaincy of the Los Angeles Kings is a bitter pill to swallow, pointing out it was management’s decision and not that of his teammates. Brown, who’s on a long-term contract, also said his relationship with management isn’t rosy and he doesn’t see eye-to-eye with them taking away his captaincy, but respects the decision. He also pledged his full support to his friend and new captain Anze Kopitar, adding what he cares about is performing and playing well for his teammates.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ obviously a tough blow for Brown, but like a true leader, he’s accepting it without sugarcoating the issue. This move by Kings management vaulted Brown’s name into the trade rumor mill. Given his contract ($5.875 million annual cap hit through 2020-21) and declining production, it will be very difficult to move him.