Tag: entry-level contracts

2015 NHL Draft - Portraits

Hurricanes won’t force Hanifin to make immediate NHL jump


Noah Hanifin stands as the sort of defensive prospect the Carolina Hurricanes badly need, but that doesn’t mean that they’ll use him right away.

For every 18-year-old blueliner who weathers the storm of an immediate NHL jump (see: Aaron Ekblad), there are plenty of young players who benefit from more seasoning before they play at the highest level. The Canes seem comfortable taking a patient approach with Hanifin, as the Charlotte News & Observer reports.

“We don’t want to force him in there if he’s not ready,” GM Ron Francis said. “We’ll give him time to develop. I’m certainly not ruling it out, but we want to be careful and make sure we do what’s right for Noah.”

Frankly, the slow-and-steady approach might be wise for both sides. Let’s ponder a few reasons why:

  • Defensive prospects often take years to develop – Again, Ekblad is probably the exception to the rule.
  • The Hurricanes are expected to be mediocre, at best – OK, there’s always the chance that a team might make a surprise turnaround, and there is indeed talent on this roster. Still, most would probably agree that Carolina is in a “transitional” period, and probably won’t make many preseason playoff prediction lists.
  • Bang for the buck – People frequently forget that there are perils when it comes to “burning” years off of entry-level contracts. Why not take advantage of built-in cheaper years for Hanifin?

Those stand as some compelling reasons to allow Hanifin to marinate, but the Hurricanes must also consider the risk of stunting his growth at too low of a level if he is ready for the big time.

And, as you can see from this post, their defense could use all the help it can get heading into 2015-16.

Tyler Seguin’s production made him a little richer this season

Tyler Seguin

One of the biggest benefits of the lockout is the very cap-friendly rookie maximum – at least for teams. It’s obviously not that great for high-end draft picks, though.* Tyler Seguin will start to cost the Boston Bruins a lot more starting in 2013-14, yet he still has some incentives to shoot for in his current deal. The Boston Globe’s Fluto Shinzawa reports that Seguin made himself a lot of extra money thanks to his breakout sophomore season.

Seguin will carry at least a $1.75 million cap hit this year because of his sparkling sophomore season. Seguin hit six of his attainable Individual A bonuses, which are each worth $212,500. Individual A bonuses are capped at $850,000 total. Seguin has a $900,000 base salary.

Seguin earned his bonuses because he netted 20 or more goals, had 35 or more assists, and recorded 60-plus points. Seguin also reached three other thresholds by averaging 0.73 points or more per game (0.83), being among the top three team forwards in plus/minus rating (plus-34), and being named to the All-Star game.

Shinzawa points out that Seguin could score a few more bonuses this summer, too. He has playoff-related benchmarks in his contract that could earn him as much as $1.8 million in extra cash, with a Conn Smythe being the biggest bullet point.

So let me ask: does Seguin have one more lucrative run in him this season?

* – The Chicago Blackhawks’ curse-killing 2010 Stanley Cup came in the final entry-level seasons for Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, for instance.

Senators demote Nikita Filatov, two 2011 1st rounders go to juniors

Ottawa Senators v Toronto Maple Leafs

It was hard to totally blame Ottawa Senators GM Bryan Murray for acquiring Nikita Filatov this summer. Every now and then, a prized prospect struggles in a not-so-great environment but then breaks through thanks to a change of scenery and a golden opportunity.

Filatov’s young enough (21 years old) that the dream isn’t anywhere close to dead, but the reality of his flaws better start sinking in. The Senators announced that they sent him to their AHL affiliate in Binghamton, so he’ll have to stomach yet another setback in his floundering NHL career. Let’s face it, if you can’t stick with the Senators as a forward this season, then things aren’t going very well. (So much for him being a top-six winger, I guess.)

Sorry to Filatov apologists, but he can’t blame Ken Hitchcock anymore.


In far less grim demotion-related news, two first rounders from the 2011 NHL Entry Draft were sent back to the juniors today. Both players are OHL-bound, as the New York Islanders sent Ryan Strome (fifth overall) to the Niagra IceDogs (great name) while the Carolina Hurricanes moved Ryan Murphy (12th overall) to the Kitchener Rangers.

Expect more demotions in the next week or so, as NHL teams will have to face the decision to keep players up (thus burning a bargain year from an entry-level contract) or sending them down (therefore preserving that cheap year for next season).

Brandon Saad signs entry-level deal with Chicago, gets to start on first line

Brandon Saad
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Chicago’s Brandon Saad has had a training camp to remember in Chicago. We’ve talked about him a lot here and about how he’s the 2011 second round pick is making the most of his opportunity to break through with the Blackhawks. Now he’s got a contract after signing his three-year, entry-level deal with Chicago.

Saad won’t be starting his season making time on the third or fourth line, however, as he’s getting to make his debut on the top line alongside Patrick Sharp and captain Jonathan Toews.

Well that shouldn’t be nerve-racking at all for the 18 year-old fresh out of junior hockey. For what it’s worth, everyone in Chicago is talking big about him, including GM Stan Bowman, as CSNChicago.com’s Tracey Myers shares.

“The competition has gone up each time and he’s responded to the challenge. He’s earned a spot,” Bowman said in announcing Saad’s deal. “He’s excited to go and that’s a good story for us. We put him in a position to succeed and he seized it.”

Saad has earned a huge opportunity thanks to both his play and injuries for Chicago in camp. Viktor Stalberg was originally slated to be the guy to play alongside Toews and Sharp, but with Stalberg battling back from an injury in camp, the job is Saad’s to make sure Chicago gets off to a solid start.

Whether Saad gets more than the nine game audition will be up to the Blackhawks, but for now it’s all on him to make it so that it’s impossible for Chicago to send him back to Saginaw in the OHL or not. He’s getting a huge stage to start off on and when the Hawks open against the Dallas Stars on Friday night, all eyes will be on him to see how he embraces life in the pros as the guy with first round talent that everyone passed on in the draft.

Jonathan Huberdeau making it a tough decision for management in Florida

2011 NHL Entry Draft - Round One

Jonathan Huberdeau isn’t making life easy for management in Florida these days. You’d think the team would be ecstatic about their third overall pick’s performance in his first NHL training camp. After all, everyone wants their players succeed at the highest level, right? But Huberdeau has been exceeding just about all expectations—and now the organization is faced with the real decision of putting the 18-year-old on the opening night roster.

How’d this happen? Wasn’t Huberdeau the kid who was supposed to be good in a couple of years after he put on some much needed weight?

There’s no simple reason the Quebec native is still in the mix as the Panthers whittle their roster down to 23 players. For one, he’s been a beast in his first two NHL preseason games with the Panthers. Not only is he showing that he can hang with others trying to make the NHL, he’s showing that he’s one of the best players on the ice. He’s scored a pair of goals in his two preseason games and has earned “star of the night” honors in each contest.

Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen isn’t closing the door on Huberdeau making the team:

“The opportunity is out there. Jonathan’s done a very good job of showing everything he can at camp to make a statement for his case. He’s shown his skill set, his work ethic; he’s very respectful. He’s shown a quiet confidence. We think the world of him as a player, as well as a person.

“He’s doing his part.”

Of course, there’s more to it than just stellar play from the #3 pick. Mike Santorelli injured his shoulder and is expected to miss 3-4 weeks. The Panthers have publically said that they expect him to be back sometime between opening night and Halloween. If he were to miss most of October, it would open up a spot for one of the fringe forwards looking to make the big club. Surprisingly, Huberdeau’s part of that group.

It might be the best of both worlds for Huberdeau that he’ll get an opportunity to show what he can do in the first nine games of the season. Performing well against good AHL players in the preseason is much different that thriving against NHLers in the regular season. Let’s face it: not all the players he’s faced in the preseason are going to be on opening night rosters.

A nine-game audition while Santorelli recovers would be the perfect opportunity for Huberdeau to get a taste of the size and speed of NHL players, as well as getting a taste of the expectations of being a professional athlete. There’s no substitute for a young player to see what professionals go through on a daily basis—from eating and health habits to on-ice preparation.

If he struggles on the ice or the Panthers decide there is no good role to make the most of his talents, they can easily send him down to St. John to continue to work on his overall game. The Panthers would also save a year on his entry-level contract as they face a potentially rough season in the standings. Then again, if he’s unquestionably ready for the show, they may want him to do his learning at the NHL level without the pressure of team expectations.

Regardless, watching the Panthers handle the Huberdeau situation should be one of the more interesting storylines as teams finalize their NHL rosters.