Latest signings, updates on John Tavares, Evander Kane & more in this morning’s collection of NHL headlines.
LATEST NHL CONTRACT SIGNINGS
NJ.COM: The New Jersey Devils avoided salary arbitration with right wing Kyle Palmieri, signing him to a five-year, $23.25 million contract. The club also re-signed forward Jacob Josefson (one-year, $1.1 million) and forward Sergei Kalinin (one-year, $800k).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Palmieri’s annual average salary is $4.65 million. Dealt to the Devils by the Anaheim Ducks last summer, he led New Jersey in goals (30) and points (57), which were also career highs for him. Only 25, Palmieri is in his playing prime. He was plagued by inconsistency and injury during his days with the Ducks, but if he’s put those issues behind him, this could be a worthwhile signing for a Devils team that struggled to score last season.
WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets re-signed forward Mathieu Perreault to a four-year, $16.5 million extension worth an annual cap hit of $4.125 million. The new deal kicks in on July 1, 2017.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: In just two seasons with the Jets after joining them as an unrestricted free agent, Perreault quickly became a vital part of their roster. He had two consecutive 40-plus point seasons in Winnipeg and is a versatile forward. The only concern is his lengthy injury history. If he can stay reasonably healthy over the course of this new contract, he’ll continue to be an invaluable part of the Jets lineup.
VANCOUVER SUN: The Canucks re-signed goaltender Jacob Markstrom to a three-year contract (beginning in 2017-18) worth $3.67 million per season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s obvious the Canucks see the 6’6″, 196-pound Markstrom as the heir apparent for aging starter Ryan Miller. Appearing in 33 games last season (the most in one season in his NHL career), he posted a record of 13-14-4 with a 2.73 goals-against average and .915 save percentage. Those stats can be attributed in part to the poor defense in front of him last season. While the 26-year-old has yet to fully establish himself as an NHL starter, he’s show sufficient potential to take over that role from Miller.
TSN: After nearly five seasons with the Boston Bruins, forward Chris Kelly is returning to the Ottawa Senators on a one-year, $900K contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kelly, 35, is approaching the end of his NHL career, but he could still bring some invaluable leadership and experience to the Senators checking lines. He missed all but 11 games last season to a broken leg.
TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins signed former Florida Panthers forward Garrett Wilson to a one-year, two-way contract.
OTHER NOTABLE NHL HEADLINES
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Islanders general manager Garth Snow indicates he’ll open contract talks next summer with captain John Tavares, who is eligible in 2018 for unrestricted free agency.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Islanders better be prepared to open the vault for Tavares, who is among the NHL’s top stars. Money won’t be the only issue, as Snow and the club’s new ownership must prove to him that they’re building toward Stanley Cup contention. The longer it takes to re-sign him, the more speculation will grow that he’ll depart via free agency in 2018. There’s already conjecture Tavares could bolt the Isles for the Maple Leafs in two years’ time. Of course, there was talk of Steven Stamkos doing that this summer, and we all saw how that turned out.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: Sabres left winger Evander Kane will reportedly face non-criminal harassment charges for his actions against two women in a Buffalo-area bar on June 24.
TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs have revealed plans to celebrate their 100th anniversary, including new sweaters and a larger classic logo.