Erik Karlsson

Ottawa signs Karlsson to seven-year, $45.5 million deal


On Wednesday night, Erik Karlsson will commemorate his breakout campaign by appearing at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas as one of the three Norris Trophy nominees.

But tonight? Tonight he’s going to celebrate.

That’s because the 22-year-old defenseman has signed a massive seven-year, $45.5 million deal with the Ottawa Senators. The contract will keep Karlsson in the Canadian capital until 2019, matching the longest contract in franchise history (Jason Spezza signed a seven-year deal back in 2007.)

The average annual value of $6.5 million is a huge raise for Karlsson, who was earning $1.3 million annually on his last contract (which, to be fair, was his entry-level deal.)

While steep, it’s a price the Senators had to pay to retain the services of last year’s most outstanding offensive defenseman. Karlsson scored 78 points in 81 games, finishing 25 clear of the next leading defenseman scorers (Brian Campbell and Dustin Byfuglien each had 53.)

His 59 assists tied him for third with Evgeni Malkin overall — only Vancouver’s Henrik Sedin and Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux had more.

In terms of cap hit, Karlsson’s $6.5 million puts him in rarefied air among blueliners. Only Campbell ($7.14 million), Drew Doughty ($7.0), Zdeno Chara ($6.9) Jay Bouwmeester ($6.7) and Dan Boyle ($6.6) are more expensive. Dion Phaneuf’s annual cap hit is also $6.5 million.

Avs unveil new third jerseys

Avs Jerseys

The Avalanche will be throwing a bunch of different looks at us this season.

Having already released specialized “Mile High” jerseys for February’s Stadium Series game, the Avs unveiled new third sweaters on Friday — less than 24 hours after a bitter 5-4 home loss to Minnesota in their season opener.

(Guess Colorado wanted to send out some good vibes after blowing a 4-1 third-period lead.)

While undoubtedly exciting for the organization, the release of these new thirds isn’t taking anybody by surprise. Last month, several websites published leaked images of Colorado’s and Anaheim’s third jerseys, so the design has been in the public eye for several weeks.

The Avs will debut these new thirds on Oct. 24, in a Saturday night tilt against Columbus.

Related: Roy explains why he didn’t call time out

Report: Escrow set at 16 percent

Gary Bettman, Donald Fehr
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Hey, remember in June when the NHLPA voted to keep the five-percent growth factor in spite of increasing worries about escrow?

Well, here’s why that decision was a significant one, via TSN’s Frank Seravalli:

With early revenue projections in place, the NHL and NHLPA set the escrow withholding rate for players at 16 per cent for the first quarter of the season on Thursday.

That means every player will have 16 per cent of earnings deducted from their paycheque and put aside until after all of this season’s hockey-related revenue is counted to ensure a perfect 50-50 revenue split with owners.

Now, this doesn’t mean that the players will definitely lose 16 percent of their salaries. Typically, they receive refunds when all the accounting is done.

Still, 16 percent is a good-sized chunk to withhold. They won’t be thrilled about it.

Related: To understand escrow, consider Duncan Keith