2010 NHL Free Agency: Is 2010 the 'Summer of the Pay Cut'?

Thumbnail image for ollijokinen3.jpgAfter years of NHL teams seemingly gorging themselves at the buffet table that is unrestricted free agency, it seems like the league is starting to exercise a little “portion control.” Jamie Fitzpatrick did a nice breakdown of the growing trend of players taking pay cuts for About.com.

20 Forwards Signed
– Based on average annual salary, nine get a raise over last season, eight take a pay cut, and one guy signs for the same money (two salaries not available).

Fitzpatrick notes that the biggest pay increases (so far) went to Manny Malhotra and Matthew Lombardi while Olli Jokinen will see the largest drop in pay. There are still plenty of free agent forwards – including guys who put up substantial goal totals such as Ilya Kovalchuk and Alex Frolov – so the overall summer might end up a touch more positive for forwards.

16 Defensemen Signed
– Eight players increase salary over 2009-10, while five take a chop, and one guy holds the line (one not available).

zmichalekhappy.jpgI’m surprised that a big chunk of defensemen took a pay cut, too, because I was thinking this might be the summer of defensemen cashing in. (More on that very subject later today.)

It turns out that Zbynek Michalek (166 percent increase) and Dan Hamhuis ($2.5 million per year to $4.5) will probably be the most excited to see their brand new pay checks in October. Fitzpatrick points out that Pavel Kubina will make $1.15 million less per year, but I think that’s more aboout the market correcting an inflated salary than him being “the biggest loser.”

8 Goaltenders Signed
– Three get a raise, four get a rollback, and one salary is unchanged.

While this summer has still (in my opinion) been a great one for defensemen, it’s been a horrid one for goalies. Just ask Evgeni Nabokov and Marty Turco, two potential big money makers who are sitting on the sidelines. (I give Turco and Nabokov slightly more benefit of the doubt that Ilya Kovalchuk because they’re probably not taking a “$100 million or bust” stance. Still, the two high profile goalies must not pay attention to the limited amount of job opportunities for goalies in the NHL right now.)

Is this the “Summer of the Pay Cut”? I’m not sure if I’d go that far, but it’s been a season of lateral moves for players and their sad panda agents. We’ll see if the many unrestricted free agents waiting on the sidelines will up-end the less moneyed trend or confirm the fact that NHL owners might actually be watching their money a little bit this year.

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    Capitals manage OT win after coughing up lead to Bruins

    WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 03: Nicklas Backstrom #19 of the Washington Capitals looks on against the Winnipeg Jets during the first period at Verizon Center on November 3, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
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    It wasn’t pretty, and they might have lost key defenseman Matt Niskanen to injury, but at least the Washington Capitals managed a win against the Boston Bruins.

    For a while, it was looking pretty ugly.

    After going up 3-0, the Capitals went more than a period’s worth of time without even managing a shot on goal. Whether you lean more toward giving the Bruins credit for fighting back or beating up the Capitals for “sitting on a lead,” it’s staggering that such a dangerous offense could be held in check for so long.

    Luckily for Washington, Nicklas Backstrom salvaged the night with an overtime goal to give the Capitals a 4-3 overtime win.

    Both teams have had a knack for extending games beyond regulation lately, by the way:

    Capitals over the last three games:
    Shootout loss to the Lightning
    Overtime win against the Sabres
    Overtime win tonight against the Bruins

    Bruins over the last five games:
    Shootout loss against Flyers
    Shootout win against Hurricanes
    Regulation win against Sabres
    Overtime win against Panthers
    Overtime loss to the Capitals

    Maybe that’s what gets it done in 2016-17: finding ways to carve out wins and shake out rough patches, like the Caps did tonight.

    Matt Niskanen injured by Patrice Bergeron boarding hit

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    Patrice Bergeron doesn’t have a reputation for dirty hits, but he drew the Washington Capitals’ ire for a hit on Matt Niskanen.

    The Capitals consider Niskanen “probable” to return to Wednesday’s game against the Boston Bruins with what they’re calling an upper-body injury. Bergeron received a two-minute boarding penalty for the infraction.

    (Check out video of the hit above.)

    The Capitals’ Twitter acknowledged the brewing bad feelings.

    Does Bergeron deserve supplemental discipline for that boarding hit?

    Washington currently leads the game 3-2.

    Ouch: NHL official helped off ice after puck to knee (Video)

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    There are plenty of hazards on an NHL rink even if you’re not a player.

    Barry Trotz ranks among the coaches who’ve been hit by pucks, though he’s one of the tiny sliver of humans who would shake off a puck to the forehead. It can be dangerous for officials, too, whether it means a wayward puck or wayward player.

    The latest example comes in the form of linesman Steve Miller needing help off the ice after a puck hit him in the knee area. As you can see from the video, it looked like he was in serious pain.

    Yikes:

    Video: Tyler Bozak with some saucy moves on this goal

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    It’s refreshing that hockey fans have, for the most part, moved on from debating Tyler Bozak‘s merits.

    The general feeling is that the Toronto Maple Leafs use him in appropriate ways these days, so we can simply enjoy his work as a pretty spiffy hockey player.

    Speaking of spiffy, check out the sweet moves he made against the Minnesota Wild for the goal above. Feels like you could dub over a Chris Berman “whoop” or two in there, right?

    (If you’re into that kind of thing.)

    Here’s that gaudy move in isolation and in GIF form: