Tag: avoiding arbitration

Atlanta Thrashers v New York Islanders

Blake Comeau and Islanders avoid arbitration, agree to one-year deal

A day after a public vote that denied public subsidies and put the team’s future in doubt, the New York Islanders returned to business as usual today. GM Garth Snow and restricted free agent Blake Comeau were able to avoid arbitration and agreed on a one-year, $2.5 million contract for the 2011-12 season. Comeau’s arbitration hearing was scheduled for this Thursday, but both sides were able to reach a fair figure before waiting for the final moment.

Comeau picked a great time to have a career year as he posted career high in goals (24), assists (22), points (46), games played (77), and even penalty minutes (43). Across the board, it was easily the most successful season of his young career. On Tuesday, he saw the fruits of his labor.

Dominik from Lighthouse Hockey thinks this is a deal that works for both sides:

“This is probably ideal for both sides (unless Comeau was hoping for a “core” length deal). Comeau is coming off a career year; he has another season to prove it’s repeatable before either side wades into something more lasting. Meanwhile, if he’s pushed for ice time from the young prospect forwards, then both sides will have a better idea of where he fits next year at this time, when he’ll be eligible for restricted free agency again.”

Next, the Islanders will have to decide what they want to do with former 9th overall pick Josh Bailey. After signing his three year entry-level deal and being rushed to the NHL, the organization will have to decide what they want to do with the 21-year-old forward. In 211 NHL games, he’s only mustered 34 goals and 54 assists. Clearly, they’ll want to sign him for less money than the $1,725,000 cap hit he earned over the last three seasons.

Regardless what the team decides to do with Bailey, it was Comeau that was the most important restricted free agent left on Garth Snow’s to-do list this offseason. By re-signing both Kyle Okposo and Michael Grabner in May and Comeau today, he’s insured that most of the Islanders young core of forwards will be back for next season. Since this is only a one-year deal, GM Snow will revisit Comeau while also trying to lock-down franchise forward John Tavares.

Either way, it’s a little bit of good news for an organization that desperately needed some good news today.

No arbitration tomorrow: Jannik Hansen signs three-year, $4.05M deal with Canucks

Jannik Hansen, Devin Setoguchi

Well, so much for Jannik Hansen becoming the first NHL player to enter salary arbitration during this off-season. Nick Kypreos reports that the Vancouver Canucks reached a three-year agreement with the versatile forward. Update: Chris Johnston reports that the deal is worth $4.05 million overall, with Hansen being paid $1.6 million in 2011-12, $1.35 million in 12-13 and $1.1 million in 13-14. That works out to a $1.35 million cap hit, which is a nice bargain for such a useful player.

With their last pending free agent out of the way, this has been a solid summer for the Canucks. They managed to keep most of the core from their Stanley Cup runner-up together, aside from Christian Ehrhoff signing a pricey long-term deal with the Buffalo Sabres. Canucks fans probably hope to see what is left of their cap space devoted to a top six forward, but it’s possible that the team’s roster might be set. (At least for a little while.)

Hansen is a high-effort forward who was especially useful in defensive situations in 2010-11 (on average, 2:24 of his 14:42 minutes per game came on the penalty kill during the regular season). That being said, he provides at least a bit of pop on the offensive end, having scored a career-high 29 points last season. Hansen had a +13 rating in the regular season and a +7 mark in the playoffs, in which he scored a solid nine points in 25 postseason contests.

He might not be an elite player, but Hansen is one of those guys who plays some of those tougher minutes that opens up better opportunities for the Sedin twins and other scorers to succeed. If the money is reasonable like reports indicate, then this is another happy compromise to avoid arbitration.

Rangers avoid arbitration, sign Ryan Callahan to three-year deal worth $12.825 million

Ryan Callahan

When the final papers for possible salary arbitration hearings were filed, it looked like the New York Rangers would be the NHL team with the biggest headaches. As it turns out, the team managed to lock up every player whose on-ice qualities would have been put on trial, as they reportedly came to terms with Ryan Callahan on a three-year contract extension today.

Much like fellow Rangers forward (and frequent linemate) Brandon Dubinsky, Callahan agreed to a deal a day before his hearing was scheduled. The terms of that three-year deal haven’t been made official yet, but Newsday’s Arthur Staple reports that Callahan’s agent confirmed that it’s worth “just under” $13 million. Update: Kevin Allen reports that Callahan’s salary will be $4 million in 2011-12 and 12-13 and $4.85 million in 13-14. That would his overall contract $12.85 million and his cap hit a bit more than $4.28 million per year.

With their last restricted free agent out of the way, Rangers fans should rejoice. Callahan seems like a strong contender to become the Rangers’ next captain because of his mixture of grit and scoring ability.

Callahan notched career highs in goals (23), assists (25) and points (48) even though he only played in 60 games in 2010-11. It’s usually tough to gauge how well a player can live up to a contract year – especially one in which that player shows a higher offensive ceiling that he ever had before – but the good news is that Callahan is a productive player even when he’s not lighting up the scoreboard.

His career-high 2010-11 shooting percentage (12.8) probably won’t be sustainable during the next three years, but the biggest worry might be that his aggressive style might lead to more injuries. Perhaps he needs to allow less important Rangers forwards to block some shots, at least; he broke his hand and ankle last season doing just that. The ankle injury forced him to miss the end of the Rangers’ push toward a playoff spot as well as their first round series against the Washington Capitals.

That being said, Callahan’s willingness to put his body on the line could make him the hockey equivalent to a military commander who fights in the front lines. We’ll see if he gets the actual captain’s “C” on his jersey now or later, but my guess is that many players and fans already consider him the leader of that team.