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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    Video: Senators make Penguins pay for penalties with 1-1 goal

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    The Ottawa Senators have defied odds during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and they’ve done so with what’s often been an ice-cold power play.

    They finally struck gold on the man advantage on Tuesday, and at a key moment. The Pittsburgh Penguins were dominating much of the game and pressing for an even bigger edge after Evgeni Malkin made it 1-0.

    Maybe the Penguins got overzealous, or maybe officials … finally started making some calls. Either way, the Senators ended up with a 5-on-3 advantage for almost a minute-and-a-half. With that opportunity, Bobby Ryan scored a huge goal for Ottawa on a shot that was both oddly and perfectly placed.

    Moments later, Kyle Turris narrowly missed a golden opportunity, so the contest remained tied 1-1.

    Despite a late push by the Penguins to finish the second, Game 6 will enter the third period with a 1-1 score.

    CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE COVERAGE FOR GAME 6

    Another big goal from Malkin; another confusing goalie interference review

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    The Ottawa Senators are ready for a fight in Game 6, which seemingly means that the Pittsburgh Penguins must grind for space and chances. So far, the Penguins are willing to do just that.

    Being that this is the Stanley Cup Playoffs, it also means that you need to shrug off setbacks … and the Penguins are doing well in that area, too.

    After a 0-0 first period, it seemed like Trevor Daley scored a “greasy” 1-0 goal, but after a review, it was dismissed because of goalie interference. The crowd’s silent, confused response mirrored many on social media who genuinely don’t know what is or is not interference any longer.

    The Penguins could have sulked after that near-goal. Instead, they just kept chipping away. Evgeni Malkin finally broke the ice – for real – with a gritty 1-0 tally. You can watch that ugly-pretty effort in the video above this post’s headline.

    This marks Malkin’s seventh goal and 24th point of the postseason. No one else has reached 20 yet.

    CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE COVERAGE FOR GAME 6

    Colin White makes Senators playoff debut, Penguins lineup the same

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    The Stanley Cup Playoffs often feel like a battle of attrition, which only makes the introduction of fresh faces that much more compelling.

    Try this on for size: with their playoff lives on the line, the Ottawa Senators will see the playoff debut of 2015 first-rounder* Colin White against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday. It’s also just his third game at the NHL level, overall.

    After rolling with seven defensemen in Game 5, Guy Boucher is opting for a traditional alignment of 12 forwards and six defensemen.

    White has that high-level pedigree and possibly fresh legs – even just relatively speaking – so it’s not out of the question for the 20-year-old center to make an impact.

    Check out the full roster report here (note: Pittsburgh’s going with the same group as Game 5). Scott Wilson is good to go for the Penguins.

    * – 21st overall.

    Boucher on Senators’ resiliency: ‘We’ve always chosen to fight’

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    It’s almost always intriguing to see how a team responds to a tough playoff loss, but that fascination spikes even more if said team fell by an especially lopsided score.

    We’ve seen the Pittsburgh Penguins respond to some blowouts with big wins, but now the shoe is on the other foot; how will the Ottawa Senators rebound from the 7-0 shellacking they suffered in Game 5?

    Well, if you ask Guy Boucher, they’ve developed a track record that shows they’re willing to fight with their backs against the wall.

    Great stuff, right? It’s honestly too bad that Boucher’s defensive system isn’t always as entertaining as his quotes.

    Speaking of how Game 5 feeds into tonight’s Game 6, the video above this post’s headline discusses how Ottawa’s goaltenders might be feeling heading into Tuesday.

    CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE COVERAGE FOR GAME 6