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.

Report: Wings, Hawks, Preds in mix to sign ‘strong two-way center’ Ejdsell

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Keep an eye on Swedish forward Victor Ejdsell in the coming days.

Ejdsell, 21, caught the eye of several NHL clubs following a standout year with Bofors of the Swedish first division — including Detroit (where he visited earlier this week, per MLive.) Reports suggest that Chicago and Nashville are also interested in securing Ejdsell’s services.

It’s easy to see why.

He racked up 25 goals and 57 points in 60 games this year, and he’s got terrific size. At 6-foot-5, 220 pounds, the physical presence is there to potentially make the shift to the NHL next season.

“He’s evolved into a strong two-way center,” Detroit assistant GM Ryan Martin told MLive. “His move from wings to center helped his defensive game. He’s got good hands and offensive ability.”

Vlasic joins Canada for Worlds, extending marathon campaign

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Marc-Edouard Vlasic is putting in work this year.

On Friday, Hockey Canada announced that Vlasic — along with Mitch Marner, Brayden Schenn and Chad Johnson — has been added to the 22-player roster for the upcoming World Hockey Championship in France and Germany.

Vlasic’s season started early as a member of Canada’s World Cup of Hockey squad. He appeared in all six games, which included his tournament high TOI (24:04) in final against Team Europe.

From there, the 30-year-old rejoined the Sharks and appeared in 75 contests, averaging 21:14 per evening. He was part of a remarkably durable San Jose defense that saw Brent Burns play all 82 games, while Paul Martin, Brenden Dillon and Justin Braun appeared in 81.

In the playoffs, Vlasic was once again a busy guy. He finished second only to Burns in time on ice (23:16 per) and was often tasked with trying to shut down the Connor McDavid line. The Sharks would eventually bow out to the Oilers in six games.

And Vlasic might have even more to do this summer.

During his end-of-year media availability, Sharks GM Doug Wilson said getting Vlasic signed to an extension prior to September’s training camp was a big priority.

Vlasic’s current deal — a five-year, $21.25 million pact — expires next summer, and carries an average cap hit of $4.25M. Wilson didn’t mince words in describing how good he thinks Vlasic is.

“Vlasic [is] arguably one of the best defensemen in the league,” he said. “Marc-Edouard is still one of the most underrated players in the league in the outside world.”

Stepan: ‘I’ve stunk since the playoffs started’

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Derek Stepan knows he’s not playing very well, and he knows he’ll have to be better if the New York Rangers are going to make it past the Ottawa Senators.

With just one goal (an empty-netter) and one assist in seven playoff games, Stepan’s offensive production has fallen off a cliff after a respectable 55-point regular season, which included 38 assists.

“I’ve stunk since the playoffs started,” Stepan said, per NHL.com’s Dan Rosen. “I’ve been not very good with the puck.”

An all-situations center, Stepan is more than just an offensive type. But he’s produced in previous playoff runs, and the Rangers need him to produce now — especially against a tight-checking Sens team that boasts a 2.00 goals-against average in these playoffs.

Stepan has 45 points (18G, 27A) in 92 career playoff games.

To be fair, he’s not the only Ranger who needs to get going offensively. One of the Blueshirts’ big strengths during the regular season was their balanced scoring, with all four lines contributing — and that’s not happening right now.

No Bieksa for Anaheim tonight, but Vatanen could return

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The Ducks will be without their most veteran skater on Friday as they look to even up their series with Edmonton.

Kevin Bieksa, who exited Game 1 with a lower-body injury following a collision with fellow d-man Shea Theodore, has been ruled out for tonight’s Game 2. It marks the first tilt the 35-year-old will miss this postseason.

Bieksa was enjoying a pretty good playoff prior to getting hurt. He racked up four assists in five games, while averaging just under 17 minutes per night. Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle is holding out hope Bieksa could return later in the series.

While this is a loss for the Ducks, it goes a long way in illustrating how much defensive depth they have.

While Carlyle wouldn’t confirm, all signs point to Sami Vatanen drawing in for Bieksa. Vatanen has been out since Game 1 of the Calgary series with an upper-body injury, but has resumed practicing and sounds like he’s ready to go.

“It’s always nice when a player is closer to coming back and you can potentially put them back in the lineup,” Carlyle said of Vatanen.

Anaheim dressed a blueline of Bieksa, Theodore, Cam Fowler, Josh Manson, Hampus Lindholm and Brandon Montour in Wednesday’s 5-3 defeat. If Vatanen can’t draw in for Bieksa, the club still has Korbinian Holzer in reserve.