Tag: contract extensions

Bruins Oilers Hockey

No joke: Oilers, Hemsky agree to two-year, $10M deal


Continuing a somewhat odd trend of Edmonton Oilers GM Steve Tambellini keeping the gang together (you know, despite that being nowhere near the playoffs factor), the team signed winger Ales Hemsky to a two-year, $10 million extension.

This serves as a solid raise for the fragile playmaker; Hemsky’s current deal carries a $4.1 million cap hit.

On paper, that’s a heck of a steal because he’s a very talented player. Unfortunately for the Oilers and Hemsky, his injury history means that there’s been a pretty big gulf between what he could achieve and what he’s been healthy enough to actually accomplish.

Hemsky has played in 47 of Edmonton’s 60 games so far this season, which is actually a solid rate considering the fact that he played 47 in all of last season. Want a telling summary of the good and the bad when it comes to him? Here are his yearly stats in games played and points since the lockout:

2005-06: 81 games, 77 points
06-07: 64 games, 53 points
07-08: 74 games, 71 points
08-09: 72 games, 66 points
09-10: 22 games, 22 points
10-11: 47 games, 42 points
11-12: 47 games, 26 points

The last three seasons justify my mental designation of Hemsky as a poor man’s, passing, right-handed version of Marian Gaborik.

Flames faux paus

Perhaps Hemsky’s injury woes explain this strange story via The Canadian Press: someone who runs the Calgary Flames Twitter feed – or maybe some unruly intern who noticed it was still logged in – posted a rather inflammatory message about the in-process deal.

“$10 Million over two years for Hemsky is the funniest thing I’ve heard in a long, long time. I hope it happens. #whatajoke”

The Tweet was deleted and the Flames went through the usual rounds of “we’re going to look into the matter” blather, but one cannot help but feel like someone nefarious might have simply expressed thoughts meant to be kept off the record.

Edmonton can simply respond with “glass houses,” because the Flames aren’t exactly a model franchise when it comes to wise contract dealings either.

In a way, that mini-squabble stems back to an intriguing inner-debate for fans of the rival franchises. Would you rather root for an expensive team seemingly destined for the playoff bubble with limited future prospects (the Flames) or a cellar dweller brimming with the dream of better days (the Oilers)?

That’s a fun debate to have, but whether the Flames think it’s amusing or not, Hemsky appears to be off the market – and thus a part of what Edmonton hopes is a near-future ascent to respectability.

Chris Kunitz will forecheck for Penguins for two more years

Chris Kunitz, Shaone Morrison

People strain to find “turning points,” but the Pittsburgh Penguins really seemed to pivot when they added Bill Guerin and Chris Kunitz around the 2009 trade deadline. He might not be blessed with the greatest finishing ability for a top-six forward, but Kunitz is a fantastic fit for the Penguins’ system.

The team decided to show how true that is by handing him a two-year contract extension today. The full deal is worth $7.45 million, which works out to $3.725 million per year – the exact salary cap hit he’s currently registering.

Kunitz might not be a household name, but he’s a ferocious forechecker whose high-effort game works well with frequent linemate Sidney Crosby. His numbers are suffering a bit without the Penguins superstar – Kunitz has one point in four games this season – but he’s the poster child for Dan Bylsma’s North-South philosophies.

To some, Kunitz will always provide a compelling counterpoint to the guy he was traded for: Ryan Whitney. While Whitney has more offensive gifts – even as a blueliner – Kunitz creates mistakes instead of making them.

Here’s an interesting thing to chew on: as of this moment, Kunitz and Evgeni Malkin now hold the longest-running contracts for any Penguins forwards, as their deals run out after the 2013-14 season. Kunitz is clearly part of “the plan” in Pittsburgh.

Rich indeed: Bruins hand Peverley three-year extension

Boston Bruins v Vancouver Canucks - Game Five

Just days after I made an offhand remark about Rich Peverley being one of the NHL’s best under-the-radar bargains, the Boston Bruins made sure that he’ll be very noticeable next season. The team signed Peverley to a three-year contract extension that Bruce Garrioch reports is worth $3.25 million per year.

That works out to $9.75 million overall. Peverley’s going to enjoy almost a $2 million per year bump in average annual salary, although the exact load-out of the contract isn’t clear at this time.

The former Atlanta Thrashers forward hasn’t put together jaw-dropping stats in his career, but he’s been a fantastic fit since being traded to Boston for Blake Wheeler. The 29 year old forward is versatile enough to play on just about any line and can switch between winger and center with ease.

This signing follows a pattern for GM Peter Chiarelli: it seems like he doesn’t want to wait to re-sign players in contract years, which might stem from trading Phil Kessel after fruitless negotiations. Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron barely got into their final years before Chiarelli signed them up; unfortunately for the Bruins’ checkbooks, the same thing also happened with Marc Savard. Still, it’s a proactive practice and the Bruins probably made the right move by signing Peverley before he puts together what could be an expensive career year.

Blackhawks hand GM Stan Bowman a three-year extension

Stan Bowman

Sure, his last name probably helped him get his foot in the door, but Stan Bowman faced a genuine challenge living in his father’s shadow. The Chicago Blackhawks’ GM is making a name of his own, though, as he put the finishing touches on a team that won its first Stanley Cup in decades and hopes to compete in the long-term.

(As an aside, apparently Stan doesn’t have a problem with Scotty Bowman’s presence, considering his father’s role as an adviser.)

After signing core players to mostly-solid contracts, it only seems right that Bowman received a contract extension of his own. The Blackhawks decided to do that today, as they handed the team’s architect a three-year extension that will run through the 2015-16 season.

The 2011-12 season will be Stan Bowman’s third as the GM and 11th with the organization. He inherited some great talent from previous general manager Dale Tallon, but also was forced to navigate some treacherous salary cap waters thanks to his predecessor. The Blackhawks experienced some growing pains last season because of their depth losses, but they managed to keep their core together and head into next season as genuine contenders.

Here are some of his career highlights, via the Blackhawks.

Bowman, 38, is entering his 11th season with the Blackhawks and third as the head of the team’s Hockey Operations Department. He was originally named General Manager on July 14, 2009, before being promoted to Vice President/General Manager on September 7, 2010. Currently the youngest General Manager in the NHL, Bowman helped Chicago capture the 2010 Stanley Cup during his first year as GM, ending a 49-year drought. The Blackhawks have registered a .604 regular-season winning percentage (99-51-17) during his tenure as GM and a 19-10 mark (.655) in three Stanley Cup Playoff appearances over three years.

Over the last 26 months, Bowman has locked up Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Patrick Sharp, Brent Seabrook and Corey Crawford to long-term deals and has acquired Nick Leddy, Michael Frolik, Steve Montador, Andrew Brunette and Daniel Carcillo among other moves to stabilize the club’s roster. He also re-signed Head Coach Joel Quenneville through the 2013-14 season last September. Bowman joined the Blackhawks in 2001, serving for four seasons as special assistant to the general manager before being promoted to director of hockey operations, a role he served in for two years (2005-07).

Hurricanes hand GM Jim Rutherford a four-year contract extension


If there’s one theme to the Carolina Hurricanes’ way of doing business, it might be “loyalty.”

Sometimes that preference reaches into the realm of the slightly ridiculous, as the team tends to bring back retreads with notable frequency. Just look at their history with Anton Babchuk, Cory Stillman, Erik Cole, the Kaberle brothers and even their once-fired head coach Paul Maurice for examples of this phenomenon.

While the team’s on-ice results seem to be on one year and off the other – possibly as a result of the Canes’ dependence upon stars Eric Staal and Cam Ward – the team seems like a solid hit in its non-traditional market. It’s my guess that fact (and his glistening 2006 Stanley Cup championship ring) explains why the Hurricanes decided to hand general manager Jim Rutherford a four-year contract extension.

It’s true that I don’t agree with every decision Rutherford makes, but considering Carolina’s restricted budget, it seems like he does a very solid job of putting together an attacking roster. Last year’s seventh overall pick Jeff Skinner won the 2011 Calder Trophy and most of their recent first round picks have been direct hits (even if they ended up on different teams).

The team might struggle with the loss of a key player such as Cole – who bolted for the Montreal Canadiens’ substantial deal – but it was the most cost-effective and risk-conscious option for a player with a troubling injury history. My guess at this moment is that the Canes will struggle to fight for a playoff spot in 2011-12, but for the most part, Rutherford seems like he knows what’s he is doing.