Vladimir Tarasenko’s performance last season combined with his solid showing in 2013-14 gave the St. Louis Blues the confidence to sign him to a eight-year, $60 million contract.
With that the Blues are just about set for the 2015-16 campaign. They still need to re-sign restricted free agent Magnus Paajarvi, but that might be the only remaining action we see from them between now and the start of training camp.
That leaves St. Louis near the salary cap, but with a little bit of wiggle room, per General Fanager. The challenge will come next summer when David Backes and Troy Brouwer are set to become unrestricted free agents while Jaden Schwartz will test the restricted free agent market. Schwartz in particular will likely be expecting a big raise from his current $2.35 million cap hit, assuming he has another strong season after his 63-point 2014-15 campaign.
If the Blues intend to keep defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk then they’ll also need to account for the likelihood that he’ll ask for a big raise too once his current four-year, $17 million deal expires in the summer of 2017.
It sets up a scenario where St. Louis might be compelled over the next year or two to trade players they otherwise wouldn’t have to remain cap compliant.
The big X-Factor in this will be how much the ceiling rises, but as we’ve seen this year with the decline of the Canadian dollar compared to its American counterpart, big increases in the cap aren’t a given.
Related: Shattenkirk’s agent downplays trade rumors
The St. Louis Blues have signed forward Vladimir Tarasenko to an eight-year, $60 million contract.
With a cap hit of $7.5 million, the deal makes Tarasenko the highest-paid player on the Blues.
One of the league’s top young stars, the 23-year-old had 37 goals in 2014-15, fewer than only four others in the NHL. He added six more goals in six playoff games.
The Blues drafted Tarasenko 16th overall in 2010.
As far as recent comparables go, it’s not easy to come up with many, given Tarasenko was a restricted free agent coming off his entry-level deal. Brandon Saad just signed a six-year, $36 million deal with Columbus, but his production pales next to Tarasenko’s.
Elite scoring wingers-wise, Phil Kessel is on an eight-year deal with an $8 million cap hit (shared now by both the Leafs and Penguins), while Corey Perry is also on an eight-year deal, with an $8.625 million cap hit.
Kessel, 27, and Perry, 30, each have a longer track record, but Tarasenko is considerably younger. And, of course, Kessel and Perry signed those deals as pending unrestricted free agents, which gave them more leverage in negotiations.
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
Tyler Seguin is this year’s NHL representative in ESPN’s The Body Issue. Fun fact: he only has 3.6 percent body fat. (Dallas Morning-News)
All eyes were on Jack Eichel at the opening day of Buffalo’s development camp. (Sabres)
St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Bernie Miklazs says the Blues will be better off without T.J. Oshie. (Post-Dispatch)
Mikko Rantanen, taken 10th overall by Colorado at the draft, is gunning to be on the Avs’ opening-night roster. (Denver Post)
Mason Marchment, son of longtime NHL enforcer Bryan, is at Calgary’s prospects camp. (Calgary Herald)
After two seasons in the KHL, Alex Burmistrov is excited about rejoining the Jets and playing again in the NHL. (NHL.com)
Coming off an impressive first full season in Washington, Evgeny Kuznetsov has scored a new deal.
On Monday, the Caps announced they’d signed Kuznetsov to a two-year, $6 million extension with an average annual cap hit of $3M. The deal allows the two sides to avoid arbitration — the Caps had until today to file — and comes after the 23-year-old put together a solid rookie campaign, notching 11 goals and 37 points in 80 games to finish ninth among first-year players in scoring.
Kuznetsov, who was an RFA, was carrying a $900,000 cap hit on his old deal.
The move is just the latest from Caps GM Brian McLellan, who’s been a busy man of late. He made a splash in free agency by acquiring former Conn Smythe Trophy winner Justin Williams, then orchestrated the T.J. Oshie trade shortly thereafter.
Previously, MacLellan suggested that Williams and Kuznetsov would play together on a line next season, along with Andre Burakowsky.
As for what’s up next — the Caps still need to reach new deals with two other RFAs: Braden Holtby and Marcus Johansson.
Imagine trying to convince a free agent to sign with the Arizona Coyotes.
Not only did the Coyotes finish with the second-worst record in the NHL last season, their future in Glendale remains murky at best.
So, how does GM Don Maloney make his pitch?
“You’re honest with them,” he said, per azcentral. “You basically say, ‘I have no idea what’s going on, but it’s a great place to play and we have great fans and a great stadium.’ Things seem to have a way of working themselves out, so we try to downplay it as much as we can.”
The Coyotes did recently convince Antoine Vermette, Zbynek Michalek, Steve Downie, Brad Richardson, and Anders Lindback to sign with them. They’re still reportedly looking for a puck-moving defenseman.
Related: Coyotes bring back Vermette with two-year deal