NHL Salary Arbitrations End: The Final Days
The latest contract signings and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres avoided arbitration with defenseman Jake McCabe and goaltender Linus Ullmark. McCabe signed a two-year, $5.7-million contract with an annual average value of $2.85 million. Ullmark inked a one-year, $1.325-million deal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Sabres sit $1.059 million above the $81.5-million salary cap. General manager Jason Botterill could become cap compliant with a cost-cutting deal. Defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen ($5.4 million AAV) is frequently mentioned as a possible trade candidate, though the expectation is he could be shopped for a top-six forward.
Botterill could go the buyout route or demote one or two lower-salaried players. If defenseman Zach Bogosian ($5.14 million AAV) hasn’t recovered from recent hip surgery by the start of the season he could be placed on long-term injury reserve.
THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers recently reported the Chicago Blackhawks and forward Brandon Perlini are about $500K apart in contract negotiations. The Blackhawks have between $1.5 – $2.5 million in cap space. A source said the Blackhawks offered a $1-million cap hit while the Perlini camp seeks around $1.5 million.
ARIZONA SPORTS: Coyotes goaltender Adin Hill accepted his qualifying offer. It’s a one-year, two-way contract.
TVA SPORTS: The Minnesota Wild have sought permission from the Montreal Canadiens to speak with assistant general manager Scott Mellanby. The Wild are seeking a replacement for Paul Fenton, who was fired on Tuesday.
Rangers to buy out Kevin Shattenkirk, Avalanche re-signs Samuel Girard, and the Devils re-up Will Butcher. Details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
SPORTSNET: Multiple reports indicate the New York Rangers intend to buy out the contract of Kevin Shattenkirk.
CAP FRIENDLY: The 30-year-old defenseman has two years remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $6.65 million.
#Rangers buying out the remaining 2 years of Shattenkirk’s contract would result in 4 years of buyout cap hit broken down as follows:
*It would save NY $5,166,667 in cap space this season. pic.twitter.com/0pG9p5leTO
— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) July 31, 2019
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was confusion over when the Rangers would buy out Shattenkirk. Because they settled with Pavel Buchnevich before his arbitration hearing, the Rangers were allowed to buy out a player during a 48-hour window three days after Buchnevich’s contract was filed.
While the agreement with Buchnevich was signed on Friday, the deal wasn’t registered with the league until Saturday. Thus, the three-day period didn’t begin until Monday.
TSN: The Colorodo Avalanche re-signed defenseman Samuel Girard to a seven-year contract extension. The deal is worth $35 million with an annual salary-cap hit of $5 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Girard joined the Avs in November 2017 as part of the three-team deal with the Ottawa Senators and Nashville Predators that sent Matt Duchene to Ottawa. The 21-year-old rearguard has become an invaluable part of Colorado’s blueline. Given his youth he still has plenty of upside, potentially turning his new contract into a considerable bargain down the road.
NORTHJERSEY.COM: The New Jersey Devils avoided salary arbitration with defenseman Will Butcher, re-signing him to a three-year, $11.2-million deal. The AAV is $3.73 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A reasonable deal for both sides. Butcher had a 44-point rookie season in 2017-18 and netted 30 last season. He was a key part of the Devils power play during that time. The 24-year-old is a skilled puck-moving blueliner.
THE SCORE: The Buffalo Sabres and goaltender Linus Ullmark are about $2 million apart heading into salary arbitration on Aug. 2. Ullmark seeks an annual average value of $2.65 million while the Sabres countered with $800K per season.
AZCENTRAL.COM: Arizona Coyotes captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson required four stitches and a tetanus shot after being bitten by the family dog in May. Ekman-Larsson confirmed the incident yesterday, indicating he’s recovered from the bite.
Latest contract signings plus updates on Dion Phaneuf, Kevin Bieksa, Matt Greene & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
TSN: Ottawa Senators defenseman Dion Phaneuf is not expected to waive his no-movement clause for the purpose of exposure in the upcoming NHL expansion draft. However, the Senators do have the option of trading him before the Saturday deadline for submission of player protection lists.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Trading Phaneuf is just one option the Senators face if he declines to waive his NMC. Details on that later this morning in the Rumors section.
There’s reportedly no need for the Anaheim Ducks to ask defenseman Kevin Bieksa to waive his no-movement clause because they apparently have a pre-arranged deal with the Vegas Golden Knights.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Are they trading one of their other blueliners to the Golden Knights? Are they shipping them a forward? A draft pick? A top prospect? Have the Golden Knights agreed to take another player left exposed in the draft? Let your imagination run wild!
Should Preds go the 8-skater (4 D) protection route, which is likely, it’s possible W James Neal gets exposed. Not for sure, but possible
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) June 13, 2017
LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Los Angeles Kings activated defenseman Matt Greene off long-term injured reserve for the purpose of buying out his contract. Greene has one year remaining on his contract at a cap hit of $2.5 million. The buyout would count as over $833K per season against the Kings’ cap payroll for the next two seasons.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kings currently have over $67 million invested in 18 players for next season. This move would free up roughly $1.7 million. Perhaps they’ll use that extra cap space to pursue a scorer via trade or free agency this summer.
NEW YORK POST: Rangers defenseman Kevin Klein is leaning toward retiring from the NHL and continuing his playing career in Europe.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That likely explains why the Rangers didn’t ask Dan Girardi or Marc Staal to waive their no-movement clauses for the upcoming expansion draft.
NHL.COM: The Nashville Predators re-signed defenseman Yannick Weber to a one-year, $650K contract.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: The Sabres re-signed goaltender Linus Ullmark to a two-year, $1.5 million contract.
WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets re-signed forward Marko Dano to a one-year, $850K contract.
EDMONTON SUN: Oilers head of player personnel Kelly Buchberger is reportedly set to join the New York Islanders’ coaching staff.
BOSTON HERALD: The Bruins promoted Kevin Dean into an assistant coaching role. Dean was head coach of the Providence Bruins.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Former Blackhawks goaltender Scott Darling recounted his recovery from alcohol abuse and his journey through the minors to the NHL in a piece in The Players Tribune. Darling was recently traded to the Carolina Hurricanes and re-signed a multi-year deal with his new club.
NBC SPORTS: The Grand Rapid Griffins are the 2017 Calder Cup champions, defeating the Syracuse Crush 4-3 in Game 6.
A look at the players who could be protected or exposed in the June expansion draft by the Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres and Dallas Stars.
BOSTON HERALD: Stephen Harris speculates the Boston Bruins could opt to protect seven forwards (“Patrice Bergeron (no-movement clause), David Krejci (NM), David Backes (NM), Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak, Ryan Spooner and Matt Beleskey”), three defenseman ( “Zdeno Chara (NM), Torey Krug and Colin Miller”) and a goaltender (Tuukka Rask) in the June expansion draft.
Harris suggests the Bruins could still expose Beleskey. Colin Miller’s improvement, meanwhile, could leave Adam McQuaid or Kevan Miller exposed. Either guy could prove attractive to the Vegas Golden Knights. Harris also mused over the possibility of the Bruins asking Chara to waive his no-movement clause, but believes it “questionable at best” that he’ll agree to do so. The Bruins could also be unwilling to risk losing Chara.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: John Vogl recently did up his list of players the Buffalo Sabres could protect in the expansion draft. His protected forwards include Kyle Okposo, Ryan O’Reilly, Evander Kane, Marcus Foligno, Johan Larsson, Ennis and William Carrier. That leaves Zemgus Girgensons, Matt Moulson, Nicholas Deslauriers and Justin Kea available in the draft.
On defense, he’d protect Rasmus Ristolainen, Jake McCabe and Zach Bogosian, leaving Josh Gorges, Justin Falk and Brady Austin. In goal, Vogl anticipated the Sabres will protect Robin Lehner and expose Linus Ullmark. He also speculated the Golden Knights could choose Girgensons or Ullmark.
THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Mike Heika recently looked at the players the Dallas Stars could protect in the expansion draft. Forwards Jamie Benn and Jason Spezza have no-movement clauses, while Tyler Seguin and Radek Faksa are “locks’ to be protected. He anticipated the Stars will protect Valeri Nichushkin, who’s currently playing in Russia. He guessed they’ll also protect Brett Ritchie and Antoine Roussel and speculated they could trade Cody Eakin or leave him unprotected.
On defense, John Klingberg and Esa Lindell will be protected, as could either Stephen Johns or Jamie Oleksiak. Dan Hamhuis would be left unprotected. Given his age (34) and with only a year left on his contract, the Golden Knights could pass on him. As for goaltenders Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi, Heika doubts the Golden Knights have interest in either guy.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As more clubs drop out of playoff contention in the coming weeks, expect the speculation over which players they will expose in the expansion draft to increase in the coming weeks. If the Bruins leave McQuaid unprotected, I expect the Golden Knights will be very interested in him. Same goes for Girgensons if the Sabres make him available in the draft. Johns and Oleksiak are big, young blueliners and either one could be tempting targets for the Golden Knights.