Mike Hoffman came with a $750,000 annual cap hit at the NHL level last season, but he’s due for a big raise after scoring 27 goals and 48 points in 79 games with the Senators. He’s reportedly not close to finding common ground with Ottawa though and the 25-year-old forward has filed for salary arbitration, per TSN’s Frank Seravalli.
Ottawa was able to claw its way into the playoffs last season on the strength of its young core with several of those players enjoying career seasons. That’s led to a summer of key negotiations for the Senators as they weigh each player’s 2014-15 performance against their sometimes short or otherwise less impressive resumes.
The Senators were able to ink goaltender Andrew Hammond to a three-year contract worth roughly $4 million and they recently signed Mark Stone to a three-year, $10.5 million deal.
In addition to Hoffman though, there’s also the possibility that an arbitrator will have to settle the negotiations with fellow restricted free agent Alex Chiasson.
“We’re far apart at this point and we don’t really see the arbitration case through the same lens,” Chiasson’s agent, Kent Hughes said, per PHT’s Dhiren Mahiban.
The silver lining is that Ottawa doesn’t have much left to take care of beyond Hoffman and Chiasson’s contracts. Shane Prince is the team’s only other remaining restricted free agent.
The Los Angeles Kings have inked Jamie McBain to a one-year, two-way contract, per LA Kings Insider.
His new contract comes with a $600,000 annual cap hit and he would still earn $300,000 yearly in the minors. He had a one-way deal worth $550,000 in 2013-14.
The 27-year-old defenseman had three goals and nine points in 26 games with the Kings last season. He logged 12:41 minutes per contest, including an average of 1:44 minutes with the man advantage.
How much he’s used next season will likely depend on what happens with Slava Voynov. He took a plea to a misdemeanor count of corporal injury to a spouse and will spend 90 days in jail and serve three years of probation.
Voynov is still suspended by both the league and the Kings and it remains to be seen when or if those bans will be lifted.
Even the day before the draft, Jack Eichel didn’t want to say if he would spend another season with Boston University or sign an entry-level contract over the summer. There was a time when he wasn’t sure himself, but playing in the 2015 World Championship helped inform his decision.
That was the first time he played competitively with and against some of the world’s top professional players. Versus that level of competition he had two goals and seven points in 10 games.
“Before the world championships, I was a little bit unsure,” he told the Buffalo News. “After going over there and having the experience I did, talking to a lot of guys, I came back pretty set on moving on. I could never really make anything public because I hadn’t been drafted yet.”
He made it official Wednesday by signing with the Buffalo Sabres. Along with Evander Kane and Ryan O’Reilly, he’ll be tasked with breathing new life into the worst offensive team of 2014-15. Expectations should be conservative for next season, but there’s no question that the hope is Eichel will develop into the cornerstone of this franchise.
James Wright is trying to work his way back to the NHL. After spending a season with Zagreb Medvescak KHL of the Kontinental Hockey League, he has signed a one-year, two-way deal with the New York Islanders, per TVA Sports’ Renaud Lavoie.
His contract is worth $800K at the NHL level.
Taken by Tampa Bay in the fourth round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, Wright went on to score four goals and 12 points in 146 games with the Lightning and Winnipeg Jets. He played in a career-high 59 contests with Winnipeg in 2013-14, but was still unsigned in Sept. 2014 and opted to head to the KHL.
Wright had 15 goals and 19 points in 53 contests with the Croatian club last season.
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
Here’s Puck Daddy’s take on the winners and losers for the first day of the free agent period. (Puck Daddy)
Sportsnet ran a winners/losers column too, but theirs more strictly looked at things from the perspective of the teams. (Sportsnet)
Here’s a breakdown and analysis of the noteworthy Day 1 signings. (TSN)
Weighing some of the biggest signings and acquisitions on a case-by-case basis. (ESPN)
What are the best value deals so far? (Bleacher Report)
Finally, with the benefit of hindsight, let’s look at the best and worst signings of 2014. (Sports Illustrated)