Shawn Matthias

Shawn Matthias continues to hold out; two-way deal is the problem

The difference between a one-way contract and a two-way deal may seem inconsequential to fans following their favorite teams and their offseason moves. After all, what does it matter? Who was signed? How long is the contract and what is the cap hit? If it’s a big time signing (or a Calgary Flames signing), maybe ask if there’s a no-trade clause included on the contract. Aside from those narrowly focused talking points, everything else is just legal speak in a legal contract.

For young players, there’s another aspect to a contract that can make or break a deal: the two-way contract.

For Florida Panthers restricted free agent Shawn Matthias, the difference between a one-way contract offer and a two-way agreement makes all the difference in the world. George Richards of the Miami Herald talked to Panthers assistant GM Mike Santos about the Shawn Matthias hold-out and their plans for the 23-year-old forward.

“Panthers assistant general manager Mike Santos said Wednesday that the delay in signing center Shawn Matthias comes down to something simple: ‘He and his agent can’t wrap their heads around us not offering a one-way deal.’

Santos said that the restricted free agent is getting a two-way deal and that’s it. Matthias is competing with the likes of Ryan Carter, Tim Kennedy and Evgeny Dadonov for a spot. Therefore, ‘I can’t give him a one-way,’ Santos said. ‘I have to leave spots open for competition.’”

There are two main differences between one-way and two-way contracts to keep in mind.

Two different salaries

Financially speaking, the major difference between the two types of contract is that a two-way contract will have two different salaries for a player depending on the league they’re playing in. If a player is in the NHL, he’ll make a certain salary; but if he’s sent down to the AHL, then he’ll make a different (much lower) salary. In many cases, the AHL salary is only 10% of the NHL salary for the same player. In a perfect example, Matthias’ entry-level deal paid him $62,500 per season in the AHL, but an average of $770,000 per season in the NHL.

On the other hand, a one-way contract pays the player the same salary whether they are playing in the AHL or the NHL. When we hear about Wade Redden getting paid $6.5 million to play with the Connecticut Whale, it’s because he’s on a one-way deal. Obviously, it’s in the teams’ best interests to sign players to two-way deals; while it’s in the players’ best interest to negotiate one-way deals in case they are sent to the minors.

Waiver exempt

From the team’s perspective, just as important is that two-way players are usually waiver exempt. In laymen’s terms, that means they can send a player down to the AHL and recall them as many times as they want without having to worry about another team taking their player. If a player is on a one-way contract, they have to clear waivers every any time they are moved. The player has to clear waivers if they are moved to the AHL; they have to clear re-entry waivers if they are recalled to the NHL. Each time, the player is made available to all 29 other teams for the same contract. Obviously, teams want the flexibility to utilize their players as they see fit.

For a team like the Florida Panthers, it’s extremely important to sign the fringe NHL players to two-way contracts. With all of the competition in Florida after their summer shopping spree, it’s no surprise that the Panthers are insistent on a two-way deal for a player like Matthias. Since there’s no guarantee that Matthias will even make the team out of training camp, they want to protect their asset and don’t want to lose the young forward for nothing.

We’ll see how the negotiations play out between the Panthers and Matthias this offseason. From Santos’ comments, it sounds like a two-way contract is more important than any other terms in a potential contract.

Brooks Orpik suspended three games for hit on Olli Maatta

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Brooks Orpik has been suspended for three games for his hit on Olli Maatta (top). The Caps defenseman will be forced to miss Games 3, 4 and 5 of the best-of-seven series against the Penguins.

Orpik delivered a late, high hit to Maatta in Game 2. The Penguins defenseman was wobbly getting off the ice and he was unable to return to the game.

Here’s how the Department of Players Safety saw the play:

“Orpik steps up to pressure Bonino, who quickly moves the puck to Maatta. Orpik peels off Bonino to pressure Maatta, who releases a shot from the top of the circle. The two continue on their path toward the goal line, as the puck is kicked into the slot. A full second after Maatta releases the puck, Orpik delivers a high, forceful hit making significant head contact. This is interference.”

To watch the NHL’s Department of Player Safety’s full explanation, click the video below.

This is the third time Orpik’s been suspended in his NHL career.

WATCH LIVE: Game 2 of Predators-Sharks

San Jose Sharks goalie Martin Jones (31) deflects a shot from Nashville Predators' Viktor Arvidsson (38) during the second period of Game 1 in an NHL hockey Stanley Cup Western Conference semifinal series Friday, April 29, 2016, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
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The Nashville Predators and San Jose Sharks will face-off in Game 2 on Sunday night. You can catch the game on NBCSN (8:00 p.m. ET) or online with the NBC Sports Live Extra app.

The Sharks used a five-goal third period to squash the Predators in the opening game of the best-of-seven series. Game 2 at the Sharks Tank should be a whole lot of fun.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Here’s some reading material to get you ready for the game:

Sharks swarm in the third period, take down Predators in Game 1

Black cat hits the ice before Sharks-Predators Game 1

Are there similarities between the ’14 Sharks and ’16 Ducks?

Backes scores OT goal on his birthday, Blues even up series with Stars

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The St. Louis Blues won’t be thrilled with the way they played in the third period, but in the end, they did just enough to come away with a 4-3 overtime win over the Dallas Stars in Game 2. The Blues’ win means that the series will head to St. Louis tied 1-1.

The Stars opened the scoring in the first period, but the Blues responded by scoring three unanswered goals (Patrik Berglund, Joel Edmundson, Troy Brouwer) on five shots. Stars coach Lindy Ruff had seen enough from starter Kari Lehtonen at that point. He yanked Lehtonen in favor of Antti Niemi at the start of the second period.

Neither team was able to find the back of the net in the second period, but things got crazy in the third.

With his team still trailing 3-1, Mattias Janmark split Alex Pietrangelo and Colton Parayko before scoring a great goal.

Moments after Janmark’s goal, Brian Elliott took a Jason Spezza blast off the mask. Elliott was shaken up on the play (he even lost one of his contact lenses), but he did stay in the game.

Stars captain Jamie Benn (surprise, surprise) leveled the score by burying a goal by Brian Elliott with under three minutes in regulation.

Like they did during their first round series against Chicago, the Blues took some time to regroup before finding a way to get the job done.

The Blues’ power play went back to work after Antoine Roussel took his third penalty of the game. That’s when the birthday boy, David Backes, came through.

That’s a nice way to celebrate your 32nd birthday.

Game 3 goes Tuesday night in St. Louis.

 

Jamie Benn’s late goal sends Game 2 to overtime

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This definitely wasn’t the way the St. Louis Blues drew it up.

The Blues entered the third period of Game 2 with a 3-1 lead. Unfortunately for them, they weren’t able to shut the game down on the road.

St. Louis jumped ahead 3-1 after 20 minutes before Dallas decided to pull Kari Lehtonen in favor of Antti Niemi. The move didn’t provide any results in the middle frame, but something certainly sparked the Stars in the third period.

Mattias Janmark cut the deficit to 3-2 with this beauty (notice how he split Colton Parayko and Alex Pietrangelo).

With less than three minutes remaining in regulation, Stars captain Jamie Benn tied it up (top).

It’s safe to say this wasn’t a memorable third period for the Blues.