If only free agency could work easy like this all the time. On Friday we told you about how Thrashers restricted free agent forward Bryan Little was close to re-signing with team and today, Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos is reporting that Little has a deal done and has re-signed with the Thrashers on a three-year contract worth $7.15 million, good for a cap hit of $2.38 million. Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution backs that up saying the Thrashers will make the announcement official later today.
We analyzed Little’s scoring numbers a bit on Friday, but this contract from Atlanta shows that they believe in his game and are expecting him to return at least close to the kind of output he had two years ago when he potted 31 goals. Clearly the Thrashers have put together a better team than they had last year and while Little won’t be teamed up with Slava Kozlov and Todd White, having him paired up with the likes of either Nik Antropov and playing as his winger or centering a second line with Evander Kane or Andrew Ladd, Little is likely to see his goal totals jump up from the woeful 13 he had last year.
Little figures to be the smaller, skilled player amongst the new, bigger bodies in Atlanta and that puts him in position to find more room on the ice to make plays happen. While the money looks to be outrageous, especially if you’re unfamiliar with him, the cap hit is fine and if Little returns to 30-goal form he’s an absolute steal.
In slightly less interesting Los Angeles Kings news than the latest in the Mike Richards fiasco, the team handed Peter Budaj a one-year, two-way deal on Friday.
The veteran goalie’s contract pays $575K on the NHL level and $100K in the AHL (though it’s $150K guaranteed), according to Hockey’s Cap.
At the moment, it sounds like Budaj will be third on the Kings’ goalie depth chart. That says as much about how things have been going lately for Los Angeles than Budaj’s work on a PTO.
As noted above, one of the more significant moves in Budaj’s favor came when the New York Islanders claimed Jean-Francois Berube off of waivers this week.
The Kings actually waived Budaj before signing him, so this has to be a relief to a goalie with a fairly robust resume as a backup.
All apologies to Budaj, but it’s probably true that the Kings would prefer not to see him at the NHL level very often in 2015-16.
The Los Angeles Kings announced today that they have “reached an agreement with Mike Richards to resolve the grievance filed in relation to the termination of his NHL Standard Players Contract. The terms are agreeable to all parties.”
The club said that it will not be commenting further “on the terms” of the settlement.
The NHLPA released a similar statement.
It was reported earlier in the week that a settlement was close to being reached; however, it wasn’t clear what salary-cap penalties the Kings would incur.
We’re starting to find out some details now:
How the final numbers differ from what the Kings would have incurred if they’d bought Richards out will be interesting to see. And if there are differences, how will they be justified?