NHL Transactions 7/24-29

  • LW Austin Watson re-signs with Nashville for 3 years with an AAV of $1.1 million.
    • Previous Contract: 2 years, $1.15 million with an AAV of $575,000 signed with Nashville.
    • Original Projection: I predicted that Watson would re-sign with Nashville for 6 years with an AAV of $2 million.
    • Thoughts: I initially thought that Watson was going to receive a contract identical to that of Calle Jarnkrok, since both had similar track records prior to becoming an RFA.  Instead, Watson signed a shorter deal, but also one with a lower AAV than Jarnkrok’s.  I think that Watson will develop into one of Nashville’s key core members in the future, coming off his best season in the NHL and an even better playoff.  I really like this deal for both sides because it ensures that Nashville won’t get burned by signing Watson to a long-term deal and it also gives Watson reason to continue pushing to be better.  He will also have the opportunity to hit free agency at 28 and he could cash-in in a major way.
  • D Brian Dumoulin re-signs with Pittsburgh for 6 years with an AAV of $4.1 million.
    • Previous Contract: 2 years, $1.6 million with an AAV of $800,000 signed with Pittsburgh.
    • Original Projection: I predicted that Dumoulin would re-resign with Pittsburgh for 2 years with an AAV of $4 million.
    • Thoughts: I am surprised that Dumoulin agreed to such a long deal with that low of a contract.  He is a premiere defensive defenseman who has been a key member of the Penguins’ championship teams. He is still going to be just 26 years old when the season begins, which is another reason I am surprised he agreed to a six year deal. Considering he will almost be 32 when this deal expires, he won’t really be able to sign another long-term deal.  I figured he was going to sign a short-term deal and then sign a big free agent deal when he reaches unrestricted free agency.  I think that anyway you look at it, this contract is extremely team friendly.  This deal was key for the Penguins to get done because it gives them more of a clear picture as to what their defense will look like in the future and give them time to figure out how they are going to allocate their money moving forward.  I am surprised that considering how much of a break Dumoulin gave the Penguins that he didn’t get a No-Trade Clause of some sort or that he didn’t get a signing bonus like others whose contracts will bridge the potential lockout.
  • D Johnny Oduya signs with Ottawa for 1 year, $2.25 million
    • Additional Details: Oduya has $1.25 million available to him in performance bonuses: $250,000 for each of the following: top five in TOI for defensemen, top three in TOI for defensemen, 41 games played, 65 games played, and team qualifying for the playoffs. Contract also has a Modified No-Trade Clause which requires him to submit a 10 team no-trade list.
    • Previous Contract: 2 years, $7.5 million with an AAV of $3.75 million signed with Dallas.
    • Original Projection: I predicted that Oduya would sign with Florida for 2 years with an AAV of $2.5 million.
    • Thoughts: Oduya is no longer the strong shutdown defenseman he was when he initially played for the Blackhawks.  He does still have something to bring to a third pairing on a good team and can even play up on the second line if injury requires and I think he will fit in well with the Senators.  I’m guessing that he is being brought in to replace Marc Methot whom they lost in the Expansion Draft. This doesn’t mean that Oduya will skate on a pairing with Erik Karlsson but he will provide the Senators some depth on defense.  He can also buy them time with the development of Thomas Chabot in case he isn’t ready for the NHL yet.  I like this deal for the Senators because of how cheap it is and I think it is smart for Oduya because it will provide him a chance to play on a competitive team and there is incentive for him to play well with the performance bonuses.
  • G Connor Hellebuyck re-signs with Winnipeg for 1 year, $2.25 million
    • Previous Contract: 3 years, $2.775 million with an AAV of $925,000 signed with Winnipeg.
    • Original Projection: I predicted that Hellebuyck would re-sign with Winnipeg for 2 years with an AAV of $2 million.
    • Thoughts: The Jets gave Hellebuyck the opportunity to be a starter last season and he floundered in the role.  This offseason, the Jets signed Steve Mason as a veteran to receive the majority of starts and to help develop Hellebuyck.  I think this will prove the best case scenario for Hellebucyk as he could still start between 30 and 40 games each of the next two seasons.  Taking some of the strain off him could help him to develop into a true starting netminder and take the net in the future.  I like the contract for both the team and player because it gives Hellebuyck a sizable raise while also giving him incentive to play well in order to receive a lengthy contract next offseason.
  • G Robin Lehner re-signs with Buffalo for 1 year and $4 million
    • Previous Contract: 3 years, $6.675 million with an AAV of $2.25 million signed with Buffalo.
    • Original Projection: I predicted that Lehner would re-sign with Buffalo for 3 years with an AAV of $3.25 million.
    • Thoughts: I think that this signing makes sense for the Sabres because it gives them a nice goalie tandem along with Chad Johnson.  I also see this as the last opportunity for Lehner to prove that he can be a long-term starter for the Sabres and if he can’t, they may cut ties with him.  Lehner was actually quite good last season with a poor defense in front of him, posting a 2.68 GAA and .920 save percentage in 59 games.  If he can play at the same caliber this season with a better defense in front of him, the Sabres could be quite good.  I do think this is a pricey deal for someone without a lengthy history of above average play, but he would have likely received a bigger deal on the open market.
  • C Mika Zibanejad re-signs with the New York Rangers for 5 years with an AAV of $5.35 million
    • Previous Contract: 2 years, $5.25 million with an AAV of $2.625 million signed with Ottawa.
    • Original Projection: I predicted that Zibanejad would re-sign with the Rangers for 4 years with an AAV of $4 million.
    • Thoughts: Zibanejad was on pace to have his best season in the NHL last year before suffering a leg injury that allowed him to play in just 56 games.  He rebounded with a very good playoffs and I think he is going to emerge as the replacement for Derek Stepan as the Rangers’ top line center.  If that is the case, and he can be that player, then this deal is quite good.  I think this deal was really smart for the Rangers because it buys up several years of unrestricted free agency.  It is also a good deal for Zibanejad as it gives him a really nice contract salary-wise, gives him security, while also allowing him to hit free agency at 29 with the opportunity to sign an even bigger deal.
  • D Mark Streit re-signs with Montreal for 1 year, $700,000
    • Previous Contract: 4 years, $21 million with an AAV of $5.25 million signed with Philadelphia.
    • Original Projection: I predicted that Streit would sign with Florida for 1 year and $2.5 million.
    • Thoughts: I didn’t expect that Streit would have to take such a cheap deal to stay in the NHL next season but do think that Montreal is a good landing spot for him.  Streit started his career with Montreal, playing three seasons for them and having some of his best seasons there.  I think as long as he doesn’t have aspirations of playing every game, this deal makes sense for him, but the Canadiens already have six defensemen who are probably better than him, so he is likely to be an extra.  That is okay though, because injuries always happen on the blueline and Streit can still be a good player on their powerplay.  This is an extremely low risk signing by the Habs and there is potential for it to payoff.
  • C Ryan Spooner re-signs with Boston for 1 year and $2.825 million
    • Previous Contract: 2 years, $1.9 million with an AAV of $950,000 signed with Boston.
  • C Ryan Johansen re-signs with Nashville for 8 years with an AAV of $8 million
    • Previous Contract: 3 years, $12 million with an AAV of $4 million signed with Columbus.
    • Original Projection: I predicted that he would re-sign with Nashville for 8 years with an AAV of $7 million.
    • Thoughts: I think both Nashville and Johansen wanted to have this be a max deal in years.  He is the first true number one center they have had in their franchise’s history and the team has already made significant strides towards winning a Stanley Cup with him on their roster.  I predicted that he would earn $7 million per season but that was before the Connor McDavid extension was announced, resetting the contract structure in the league. Johansen’s $8 million cap hit puts him just above Jason Spezza and Ryan O’Reilly and just behind Claude Giroux and Ryan Getzlaf, so about where it should be.  If his salary seems a bit high, wait until next offseason when Auston Matthews signs his extension and see how Johansen’s compares.  It won’t be so bad then.  Johansen may not have put up the points so far in his career that one would expect from a first line center, but keep in mind, he will only be 25 when the season begins this fall.  He still has lots of room for development and growth and will likely see his production grow as he develops.  I love this deal because I think his AAV is a fair value and the eight year term means that he will only be 32 when his deal expires.

*All stats and information came from TSN and CapFriendly

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