Tag: 2011 restricted free agency

Vancouver Canucks v Boston Bruins - Game Six

Canucks forward Jannik Hansen hopes for big raise as arbitration approaches

While 22 players filed for salary arbitration this summer, none have actually had a hearing yet. Ryan Callahan was the most recent of 17 players who avoided the often awkward process, signing a three-year deal worth $12.85 million on Wednesday.

If that trend continues, then there’s no reason to worry about Vancouver Canucks forward Jannik Hansen, whose salary arbitration hearing is scheduled for Friday. It might be different with Hansen, though, as the 25-year-old forward went through the process last year as well. Hansen received a one-year, $825K deal thanks to the 2010 hearing, but the Vancouver Sun indicates that Hansen hopes to at least double that salary after he scored a career-high 29 points and had a solid all-around season in 2010-11.

Arbitration hearings can be contentious and uncomfortable at times, but if a hearing does take place Friday, Canucks assistant GM Laurence Gilman said that he expects it to be a “respectful” process.

Gilman said the Canucks spend countless hours preparing their case and try to present it in a professional way. “With respect to the process itself I think in our tenure here the last couple of years we have demonstrated in the briefs we have written and in the hearings that we have been professional and respectful in the manner in which we’ve presented our cases.”

It’s quite possible that we might hear about a new deal today (or even a short time before the hearing is supposed to take place), but either way, we’ll keep an eye on the process. The arbitrator’s decision might not be revealed until this weekend or early next week, though.

Steven Stamkos got his contract, but there’s ‘nothing new’ regarding Drew Doughty’s negotations

Dallas Stars v Los Angeles Kings

In the minds of many, Steven Stamkos and Drew Doughty’s restricted free agent negotiations are inexorably linked. The two young superstars even have the same representation (Newport Sports). The thought was that once one of the two signed, the other might follow like a domino.

With the big news of Stamkos’ signing in mind, many people (Los Angeles Kings fans especially) are waiting on pins and needles for news regarding Doughty’s negotiations. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be that simple; Helene Elliott reports that there’s “nothing new on the Doughty front.”

Stamkos’ deal won’t be the only barometer for Doughty

Saying that Doughty will fall in line just because Stamkos’ deal might have created some kind of “ceiling” overlooks the complications involved in the Kings’ situation. One important note is that Stamkos’ negotiations aren’t the only ones that might set some precedent for the Doughty deal. The most obvious other case is that of Nashville Predators blueliner Shea Weber.

While there are some clear differences between Weber and Doughty (age, style and overall team budget being three of the things that jump out the most), the two share the same position. That might provide more of a “road map” than Stamkos’ $7.5 million per year deal since the Lightning star is a center.

Why Doughty and the Kings are at an impasse

The latest Doughty update revealed that the Kings’ most recent offer was a nine-year deal that would total about $58.5 million, with a $6.5 million cap hit. That’s a hefty amount of money – just $1 million per year less than Stamkos will receive, with four more years of security – but rumors abound that Doughty wants to be the highest paid Kings player (Anze Kopitar’s annual cap hit is $6.8 million).

Giving Doughty close to $7 million per year might be too much for the Kings to stomach. Such an impasse might explain the disturbing finding that the two sides haven’t spoken since June 23.

The length of Stamkos’ deal might be the answer for both sides

When it comes down to it, the Stamkos deal’s term might be more of a measuring stick for the Kings and Doughty than his salary. By signing a five-year contract, Stamkos preserved his money-making future by making sure that the contract doesn’t bleed away his unrestricted free agent years. That might be the ticket for Doughty, then; take a $6-$6.5 million per year contract for a shorter term to open the doors to a bigger unrestricted free agent bounty. (Of course, the drawback for the Kings is that they would risk losing Doughty during a significant portion of his prime.)

Doughty’s situation should be interesting to follow, whether the Stamkos contract affects the negotiations or not. It’s easy to rave about Kings GM Dean Lombardi’s off-season moves thus far, but in the grand scheme of things, it all comes down to re-signing the biggest jewel in the team’s crown to a reasonable contract.

It looks like that might not be an easy task, though.

Bruins open up contract talks with free agent Brad Marchand

Boston Bruins v Vancouver Canucks - Game Seven

Each summer, there are a handful of players who turn a conveniently timed career-year into a big, fat raise. We’ve already seen some breakthrough players reap those benefits in the 2011 off-season, with Joel Ward and Sean Bergenheim receiving significant contracts based on the hope that they might conjure their playoff magic over the long haul.

Boston Bruins rookie Brad Marchand probably fits in a slightly more positive subcategory with fellow restricted free agent Teddy Purcell, though. Both Marchand and Purcell boast minimal NHL resumes but they distinguished themselves from Ward, Bergenheim and other postseason wonders by having solid regular seasons as well. Perhaps that explains why both Purcell and Marchand lack new contracts at the moment (though that probably has more to do with the fact that they’re not unrestricted free agents).

While Purcell approaches a possible salary arbitration hearing on July 20, the Bruins have a larger window to work with their surprisingly high-scoring pest. CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty captures some of the early talks between Marchand and the Bruins’ front office (including GM Peter Chiarelli).

The B’s general manager has consistently said that the team will get a deal done with the impish forward, who has been back in his native Nova Scotia after a wild week of celebration in Boston following the Cup win.

Chiarelli wouldn’t characterize the discussions, but it’s expected that Marchand is going to get a substantial raise in his deal to something in the $2.5-3-5 million range before it’s all said and done.

“We continue to talk and we’ve had some discussion and I’ll leave it at that,” said Chiarelli when asked about the negotiations.

Giving Marchand $2.5-$3.5 million seems a little risky, but that salary falls compares reasonably well to the funny money being handed out in free agency this summer. Even looking at his standard numbers – which doesn’t tell the whole story because he can be effective at rubbing opponents the wrong way, too – he would probably get a nice deal on the open market. Marchand scored 21 goals (and 41 points) in his first season and then had 19 points in 25 games played during a fantastic Stanley Cup run.

His restricted status limits the relevance of certain comparisons, but his physicality and agitation make him more versatile than some of the one-dimensional scorers who went laughing to the bank in July. The closer the Bruins can keep his salary in the lower end of that range, the better things will look for a team that shouldn’t be drastically different (on paper, at least) as they prepare to defend their title in 2011-12.

Blackhawks avoid arbitration by signing Viktor Stalberg to two-year, $1.75M contract

Chicago Blackhawks v Florida Panthers

The list of restricted free agents preparing for salary arbitration hearings continues to dwindle as each day passes. The Colorado Avalanche eliminated both of their possible hearings by signing Kevin Porter and Ryan Wilson yesterday while the Chicago Blackhawks cut their headaches in half by locking up Viktor Stalberg to a two-year contract today.

Jay Gold reports that the two-year deal is worth $1.75 million overall, with an annual cap hit of $875K per season. Chris Campoli ranks as the only Chicago player still headed toward a possible arbitration hearing while Michael Frolik is a restricted free agent who isn’t eligible for arbitration.

Stalberg came to Chicago in a cap-conscious deal that sent Kris Versteeg to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Stalberg scored 24 points in 77 regular season games and one goal in seven playoff contests in his second NHL campaign. He only played 10:42 minutes per game during the regular season and a little more than 12 minutes per playoff match against the Vancouver Canucks.

The Blackhawks made a lot of minor (often veteran) additions during the 2011 off-season, but most of those contracts were one-year deals. At 25 years old, Stalberg could find a home in Chicago if he plays well during the next two seasons or find himself fighting for a job at the NHL level. It all depends upon how well he develops in a depth position on this Blackhawks roster.

Avalanche avoid arbitration hearings by giving Ryan Wilson, Kevin Porter one-year deals

Avalanche Oilers Hockey

While the countdown to salary arbitration continues for the Tampa Bay Lightning, New York Rangers and several other NHL teams, the Colorado Avalanche won’t have to worry about those often-awkward proceedings. They signed two restricted free agents who were headed to salary arbitration today, locking up forward Kevin Porter and defenseman Ryan Wilson to one-year deals.

Porter will make $850K while Wilson shall receive $1.275 million for their efforts during the 2011-12 season. Porter is 25 years old while Wilson is 24.

Porter achieved career highs in goals (14), assists (11), points (25) and games played (74) in the 2010-11 season while averaging 13:49 minutes per game. He also had 27 penalty minutes and a -11 rating last season.

Wilson’s 2009-10 stats (21 points and +13 rating in 61 games played) look better than the 16 points and -8 rating he earned in 67 games in 10-11, but that is likely as much a reflection on Colorado’s success in those respective seasons as Wilson’s play. He enjoyed a bigger role in 10-11, averaging 19:49 minutes per game after receiving 16:16 per contest in 09-10.

These two players aren’t the kind of guys who would break the bank during arbitration hearings, but it’s probably best for Colorado to maintain as much positivity as possible after their locker room seemed to crater in 2010-11. Wilson and Porter will gain an opportunity to prove that they can be pieces of the puzzle for the Avs because they’re around the age when mid-level prospects either work out at the NHL level or become journeymen players.