Tag: contract signing

Drew Doughty

Kings and Drew Doughty agree on 8-year, $56 million contract


After months of negotiating and a stress-filled summer for Kings fans all over California, the waiting (and worrying) has finally come to an end. According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the Los Angeles Kings and restricted agent Drew Doughty have at last come to terms on an 8-year, $56 million contract. And not a moment too soon.

In an official press release, the Kings announced that the two sides had come to a verbal agreement.  Needless to say, the announcement ignited celebrations for hockey fans in Los Angeles; and shouts of denial from opposing fans who still  held out hope that their team would sign the restricted free agent an offer sheet.

“The Los Angeles Kings have reached a verbal agreement with restricted free agent defenseman Drew Doughty on a multi-year contract, Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi announced tonight.”

By all measures, the two sides came together on a deal at the last minute. The Kings finally budged after insisting that he average cap hit of any deal would not exceed Anze Kopitar’s team high $6.8 million per season. From Doughty’s side, the young defenseman accepted an eight-year deal—a longer term than he may have preferred. The $7 million average salary per season will make him the third-highest paid defenseman—trailing only Shea Weber’s one-year contract and Brian Campbell’s ridiculous $7.1 million per season. Kings’ governor Tim Leiweke praised GM Dean Lombardi for getting a deal done that works for the team.

“Dean did a good job here. Dean is unbelievable with the budget and the forecasting and, as you know, he’s a professor when it comes to the boxes and forecasting where we’re going long-term. So he was passionate about protecting ourselves with some flexibility here. I feel good about the fact that we have someone that has the vision that Dean has, long-term, and is keeping the nucleus together. But he’s also smart, and he knows eight years is eight years. And this kid is 21 years old. He’s going to 29, and still in his prime, when he’s done with this contract. That’s a good thing for the franchise. The guy that isn’t mentioned here, Mr. Anschutz, he has broken the bank here. We are sending a very strong message to our fans. We’re committed to winning, and we just proved it again.”

Three weeks ago, there were reports that the Kings had offered the 21-year-old defenseman a 9-year deal worth $6.8 million per season.

From the Kings point of view, it’s easy easy to understand their excitement. The 8-year deal will eat up four of Doughty’s valuable “unrestricted years,” at a reasonable $7 million per season. One of the difficult parts of the negotiating process is that there’s no real comparable salary for a player like Doughty. He’s already become the second youngest player to be nominated for the Norris Trophy and proved he belonged among the league’s elite at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

The timing also worked out for Los Angeles as well. There were plenty of artificial deadlines; but both sides understood that a deal needed to be reached by the end of the week or Doughty would miss regular season games. The Kings have two more preseason games in North America before leaving for Europe on Saturday night. People around the organization said they hoped to sign him in time to participate in a couple of preseason games before the regular season started in Berlin. With tonight’s deal, the team will decide if they want him to play in Saturday’s preseason game against the Avalanche before heading to their final preseason game on Tuesday in Hamburg, Germany.

For Doughty, he instantly becomes one of the highest paid defensemen (and players) in the NHL. He successfully skipped his “second contract” and jumped right to his huge payday at the tender age of 21. $7 million per season will buy quite a few cocktails for the man who recently reached the legal drinking age.

Symbolically, it shows that the organization realizes he’s an crucial piece to their puzzle. He’s now the highest paid player on a team that not only has playoff aspirations, but Stanley Cup dreams. No pressure there kid.

Now comes the tough part. As weird as it may sound after this prolonged three month ordeal, someone may want to tell Doughty that negotiating the contract is the easy part. Now he’ll have the next eight years to prove that he’s worth it. With that kind of money and the type of team the Kings have assembled this season, individual statistics may not be enough to justify that kind of contract.

All the sudden, the stakes have been raised for Drew Doughty and the LA Kings. A Norris Trophy? He has eight years. Legitimate playoff performer? He has eight years. Stanley Cup?

You get the idea…

Leafs lock-up Luke Schenn for 5 years

Toronto Maple Leafs v New Jersey Devils

The restricted free agent signing frenzy continued late Thursday night/early Friday as the Toronto Maple Leafs and Luke Schenn agreed on a five-year contract. TSN’s Bob McKenzie broke the news and subsequently sent all of Leafs Nation into celebration. This is all it took:

“Luke Schenn has agreed to terms with the Toronto Maple Leafs. No further details at this point but he will report to camp Friday.”

With the former 6th overall pick in the mix, the Leafs will feature a top 4 with Schenn, captain Dion Phaneuf, John-Michael Liles, and Mike Komisarek. Newly acquired Cody Franson, Keith Aulie, and Carl Gunnarsson will compete over the final two spots—with the loser getting an all expense paid trip to the press box. Oh, hypothetically speaking, there’s Jeff Finger in the mix as well.

Schenn’s stats are never going to blow anyone over. The stay-at-home defenseman only has 12 goals and 53 points in 231 career games. But that’s not Schenn’s job in Toronto. He’s paid (and paid well nowadays), to prevent the other team from scoring, get under the opponents’ skin, and protect his teammates. This is a guy who was compared to Adam Foote when he was a first round draft pick in 2008. Colorado (or Columbus) never paid Foote for the points he was going to put on the board, right?

An important point to factor into the financial terms of the contract is that the five-year deal accounts for one of Schenn’s unrestricted free agent years. The good news for Leafs fans is that he won’t hit the open market after his seventh season in the league. However, the bad news is that he’ll hit the open market when his contract expires after his eighth NHL season.

The extra year on the contract undoubtedly bumped up the average salary per season. Even without solid contract figures, the boys over at Pension Plan Puppets wasted no time figuring out Schenn’s new contract comparables.

“A cap hit between $3.4M and $3.6M puts Schenn among the following company: Rob Scuderi, Johnny Oduya, Kris Letang, Ryan Suter, Roman Hamrlik, Nick Schultz,Willie Mitchell, Cory Sarich, Brent Burns, Matt Carle, Niklas Hjalmarsson, and Viktor Hedman.

Now the Leafs (and their fans) can stop worrying about contract negotiations and start worrying about their team next season. With the likes of Schenn, Phaneuf, and James Reimer trying to keep the puck out of their own net, newcomers Tim Connolly and Matthew Lombardi will attempt to help Toronto improve upon the 2.60 goals per game. If both can stay healthy, they should provide a boost to the team that was in the bottom third in the league in scoring.

Scoring woes are a different problem for a different day though. The continued maturation of Luke Schenn will be imperative for the Leafs to improve next season. As much as their offense struggled at times last season, the defense was the weaker part of their overall game. The only teams with worse goals against averages were the Blue Jackets, Islanders, Oilers, Thrashers, and Avalanche. Needless to say, those aren’t exactly perennial Stanley Cup contenders.

It’s Schenn’s job to turn those numbers around—he’ll have five years to figure it out.

Last minute deal: Josh Bailey signs two-year deal for $2.1 million

Josh Bailey

On the eve of training camp, Josh Bailey and the New York Islanders have reached a two-year agreement that will pay the 21-year-old forward a total of $2.1 million. Anyone who was holding their breath that Bailey and the Isles wouldn’t be able to get a deal done in time for training camp can now breathe a sigh of relief. Needless to say, this wasn’t like any of the other restricted free agent negotiations around the league.

Most teams and restricted free agents have rather flexible deadlines for getting a deal done before the season. Obviously, it’s best to get a deal done sooner than later, but they are unbound by artificial due dates that dictate the process. Some teams and players are able to reach an agreement during the previous season. Some get it done during the dead of the offseason and some get it done as training camp approaches. Still, they get it done whenever it works best for the GM and the player.

Josh Bailey and the New York Islanders didn’t have that luxury. Katie Strang explains:

“Per Islanders team policy, any player unsigned by the start of training camp forfeits the entire season while the team retains his rights.

And it was no empty threat.

The Islanders exercised the aforementioned policy with Finnish winger Sean Bergenheim in 2006. Unwilling to accept what the Islanders were offering him, Bergenheim was forced to play the 2006-07 season in Europe.”

The new deal comes with a $1.05 cap hit per season for the Islanders. To put that in perspective, Bailey is the 10th highest forward on the team—making about 200k less than P.A. Parenteau this season. Yet at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. His NHL salary surely looks a lot better than Sean Bergenheim’s European contract in 2006.

The Islanders have been busy over the last few days. It was widely reported that the team and superstar-in-making John Tavares reached an agreement on Wednesday—a deal he signed on Thursday afternoon. Afterwards, the team turned their attention to a more pressing matter as they worked to hammer out Bailey’s contract. One may question the order in which they signed the former first round draft picks, but the team was able to get both players under contract before training camp started. All’s well that ends well.

Now that the off-ice issues of the offseason are finally behind them, the Isles organization can look forward to molding their young players into a competitive team. Bailey may not be a star on the team, but he provides decent depth and will use the next few years to mature into a productive NHL player for the future. If he can improve on that 29 point average he’s put up over his career, the next contract will make $2.1 million look like a stepping stone.

Right. Because $2.1 million is a stepping stone nowadays.

Coyotes re-sign winger Mikkel Boedker to two-year deal

Colorado Avalanche v Phoenix Coyotes

Scratch another of the restricted free agents off the list. According to TSN and SportsNet, the Phoenix Coyotes and Mikkel Boedker have agreed to a two-year deal. The former 2008, 8th overall pick previously signed an entry-level deal worth $1.725 million per season (cap hit). The financial terms of the new agreement have not been released.

After being rushed to the NHL as an 18-year-old, the Coyotes took a step back with their prized winger and sent him to San Antonio in the AHL to work on his game in the 2009-10 season. More importantly, the team hoped he would regain his confidence by playing with the Rampage. He started the 2010-11 season back in the AHL before making the jump up to the big club in January. He ended up contributing 4 goals and 10 assists in 34 games with the Coyotes last season. After the Coyotes first round exit, he represented Denmark in the World Championships for the second time in his career.

Despite his lackluster career thus far, Boedker still figures to be an important winger for the Coyotes’ future. He, Brett MacLean, and Kyle Turris are all looked at as the offensive core for Phoenix going forward. For both Boedker and Turris, it’s easy to make the argument that their struggles at the NHL level were caused more by organizational mistakes than poor development. Both prospects were asked to jump into an NHL line-up when they both could have used another season developing their game—whether it was in Kitchener for Boedker or the University of Wisconsin for Turris.  But now, both look like they’re in the NHL for good.

Next season Boedker will look to build on the momentum that he started to build towards the end of last season. All things considered, it is imperative for the Coyotes future that both the dynamic Dane and Turris continue developing. Boedker started to show signs at the end of the year of the type of offensive player the Coyotes hoped they were drafting when they picked him ahead of guys like Tyler Myers and Erik Karlsson. Regardless, the terms of any deal will be based more on potential than actual performance. But if he can overcome the tragic career mismanagement by the Coyotes, he still has all the tools to be a world class scorer.

The Coyotes are counting on it.

Brent Burns: Not all about the money?

Toronto Maple Leafs v Minnesota Wild

Usually the offseason is filled with ridiculous contracts, trades that send expensive contracts to new teams, and arbitration hearings. In some way, shape, or form, it seems like every single bit of news has to do with players trying to maximize their compensation or teams trying to get the best deal for players to fill out their roster for next season. It’s this offseason landscape that makes Brent Burns signing with the San Jose Sharks such an interesting story. Instead of playing out the last year of his contract and exploring unrestricted free agency next summer, he jumped at a chance to sign a long-term extension with the team that acquired him only a month ago.

Which brings us to the $30 million question: Why did he forgo the riches of free agency? As Burns tells it, he was just looking for a little security and the chance to win. Hey, can’t argue with either of those. Here’s what Burns had to say after signing his 5-year deal worth $28.8 million:

“To have a chance to start talking about signing the extension, it was really a no-brainer for us. We have a little bit of security for our family and I can concentrate on playing hockey, training and getting ready for the year.”


“I don’t have to worry about (the contract) any more for the next six years and can concentrate on winning, being on a great team and being a great teammate. I think that’s important to me.”

Let’s get one thing straight: the man is getting paid almost $30 million to play hockey. It’s not like he’s a martyr and has taken a vow of poverty. But after taking a quick glance around the league at the contracts that were thrown at free agents this summer, it’s clear that Burns would have been able to make more money next season if he continued to produce in his first year with the Sharks.

Part of the risk for the Sharks when they traded Devin Setoguchi, Charlie Coyle, and a first round pick for Burns was that he was only signed through the 2011-12 season. Upon signing the defenseman to the five-year extension, Sharks GM Doug Wilson admitted that the team could have lost Burns if he went on the open market in 2012.

“There was a level of risk at this. Supply and demand dictates that defensemen always are going to get their money and terms. But we know this is a guy who loves to play the game, wants to compete and wants to win. We thought we would be a good fit for him. From Day One, signing him was our ultimate goal. And for him to agree to this kind of contract, I can’t compliment Brent enough for him stepping up and being a great teammate.”

Since they’ve locked-up Burns until 2017, the Sharks are betting that the former Wild defenseman will be their cornerstone blueliner of the future. In the short-term, he’ll team up with Dan Boyle to give the Sharks one of the better one-two punches in the Western Conference from the back-end. He’ll join a group of otherwise underrated defensemen in Douglas Murray, Jason Demers, and Marc-Edouard Vlasic to form a formidable defensive corps for the next two seasons. That’s right: the Sharks have their five best defenseman already signed through the next two seasons.

The defense has admirable depth—but they were sorely lacking a top-pairing guy who could play on the power play, penalty kill, and 5-on-5 each and every night. Burns will be depended upon to do that for 82 games each year—all of which are merely a prelude to the playoffs in San Jose these days. His ability to thrive in his new home will be imperative for the Sharks to make it back to their third consecutive Conference Final (and beyond).  Ray Ratto of CSN Bay Area also understands Burns’ importance to his new team:

“Burns is obviously more important than any of the other acquisitions (Havlat, Michal Handzus), and will probably join with and eventually supplant Boyle as the defensive nucleus. It explains the size of the deal, but explaining Burns’ importance will require October, and November, and on and on.

Ultimately, you see, this is a deal for a player, not a deal for a signature, and in truth, Burns need to be the best defenseman the Sharks have ever had. Not because the money says so, but because the roster and the expectations and the resume say so.”

The next step for the former first round draft pick will be to improve upon his career bests from a year ago. In 80 games, Burns finished the season with 17 goals, 29 assists and 98 penalty minutes. His 17 goals were third in the NHL among defenseman and his 25:02 ice-time per game, placed him ninth among defenseman who played at least 70 games last season.

He’s shown in Minnesota to be a cornerstone defenseman—now he’ll look to prove that he can be “the man” for a team that’s annually expected to make a deep run into the playoffs.