Tag: restricted free agents

Jared Cowen

Done deal: Cowen signs four-year, $12.4 million extension with Sens

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The Ottawa Senators and Jared Cowen have managed to find common ground after all.

The Ottawa Senators announced they’ve come to terms with their restricted free agent defenseman on a four-year deal. As Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun initially reported, the deal is worth $12.4 million over the term and good for a $3.1 million cap hit.

Cowen played in just a handful of games last season thanks to offseason surgery, but two seasons ago he had a major breakout with the Senators playing in all 82 games of the 2011-2012 season.

In the seven games he played in last year, he had one goal and averaged over 20 minutes of ice time per game. At 22 years old he’s got a lot of time ahead of him.

Now that Cowen is locked up, that leaves just two more major restricted free agents left to be signed.

New York Rangers forward Derek Stepan and Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Cody Franson need to sign deals and both players’ teams have cap issues. Cowen’s new deal may not do much to help Franson get what he’s seeking from the Leafs.

McKenzie: No chance Subban, Del Zotto, Kane, and O’Reilly get deals done before lockout

Eric Staal, P.K. Subban

If you’re waiting for your favorite restricted free agent to sign a new deal ahead of the lockout, you might be left disappointed.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports it’s highly unlikely any of Montreal’s P.K. Subban, New York’s Michael Del Zotto, Winnipeg’s Evander Kane, or Colorado’s Ryan O’Reilly will sign new contracts before the CBA expires at 11:59 p.m. ET tonight. McKenzie says there’s “no chance” Subban or Del Zotto will get something done and Kane is equally unlikely.

Adrian Dater of The Denver Post reports the Avalanche will wait until a new CBA is completed before locking up O’Reilly. His negotiations with the Avs have been particularly gruff as some believed his unwillingness to sign right away cost him a shot at being the team captain. Instead, 19 year-old Gabriel Landeskog was given the “C.”

Considering it’s taken this long for these RFA’s to get signed it’s no surprise that teams are waiting for a new CBA to be finished before committing. It’s not as if the players will be able to sign offer sheets during a lockout.

Devils give qualifying offer to Mark Fayne, other RFAs may not be so lucky

Dustin Brown, Mark Fayne

According to Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice, Devils GM Lou Lamoriello has made a qualifying offer to potential restricted free agent defenseman Mark Fayne. That means New Jersey wants to keep Fayne in the fold and after how he performed through the playoffs helping to shut down some of the East’s top scorers, he’s earned that much.

Gulitti also reports that Fayne may be one of the few potential Devils RFAs to receive qualifying offers. Lamoriello didn’t say whether forwards Vladimir Zharkov and Kory Nagy, defenseman Matt Corrente, and goalie Timo Pielmeier might receive the same treatment.

Fayne is the lone one of the bunch to spend all season in New Jersey helping balance out the blue line. Fayne finished the regular season with four goals and 13 assists and added another three assists in the postseason helping the Devils reach the Stanley Cup finals.

Jamie Benn should be ready for All-Star Game

Jamie Benn

The Dallas Stars won’t benefit from Jamie Benn’s presence on Tuesday, but ESPN Dallas’ Mark Stepneski reports that he should be able to take part in the 2012 NHL All-Star Game.

It looks like Benn will miss at least five games overall (including tomorrow’s match against the red-hot Anaheim Ducks) after undergoing an appendectomy.

Some might argue that Benn broke out in an abbreviated 2010-11 campaign, but Brad Richards’ departure has allowed him to shine in a heightened role. He earned the All-Star nod based on 42 points in 43 games, but that’s a good news/bad news proposition for the Dallas Stars since his entry-level deal expires after this season.

Stepneski reports that Benn and the Stars have discussed a new contract briefly but will wait until the end of this season to hash out his second contract. If the second half of his 2011-12 is anything like the first one, Benn’s next deal won’t be cheap.

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

Drew Doughty

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…