2011 free agents list: The unrestricted version

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Now that the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs and 2011 NHL Entry Draft are over, hockey fans are probably starting to think about next season and trying not to think about the long, hockey-free summer. The best distraction from that stark, puck-less reality will come on Friday, July 1 when the free agent frenzy begins.

If you want to start dreaming about all the ways your team could get better (or conversely, if you want to guess which signings might provide future nightmare fuel), it might help to look at a list of free agents.

In this first post, we’ll provide the easier-to-get (but usually more expensive to sign) group known as unrestricted free agents. These guys are at least 27 years old and could be available to any team willing to fork over the dough. These players are listed by their position, current team, age and their 2010-11 salaries.

Top 100 Forwards (for a complete list, click here)

Note: players listed by previous salaries, not ranked by perceived talent.

Brad Richards DAL 31 $7,800,000
Simon Gagne TBL 31 $5,250,000
Alex Kovalev PIT 38 $5,000,000
Michael Nylander WAS 38 $4,875,000
Teemu Selanne ANA 40 $4,500,000
Jason Arnott WAS 36 $4,500,000
Tim Connolly BUF 30 $4,500,000
Michael Ryder BOS 31 $4,000,000
Michal Handzus LAK 34 $4,000,000
Steve Sullivan NAS 36 $3,750,000
Cory Stillman CAR 37 $3,533,333
Marco Sturm WAS 33 $3,500,000
Alex Ponikarovsky LAK 31 $3,200,000
Radim Vrbata PHO 30 $3,000,000
Erik Cole CAR 32 $2,900,000
Jamie Langenbrunner DAL 35 $2,800,000
Chris Clark CLB 35 $2,633,333
Tomas Fleischmann COL 27 $2,600,000
Sergei Samsonov FLA 32 $2,533,333
Vaclav Prospal NYR 36 $2,480,000
Todd White NYR 36 $2,375,000
Chuck Kobasew MIN 29 $2,333,333
Antti Miettinen MIN 30 $2,333,333
Andrew Brunette MIN 37 $2,333,333
Scottie Upshall CLB 27 $2,250,000
Brooks Laich WAS 28 $2,066,667
Nikolay Zherdev PHI 26 $2,000,000
Ethan Moreau CLB 35 $2,000,000
Mike Modano DET 41 $1,750,000
Chad Larose CAR 29 $1,700,000
Radek Dvorak WIN 34 $1,700,000
Jussi Jokinen CAR 28 $1,700,000
Chris Higgins VAN 28 $1,600,000
Kris Draper DET 40 $1,583,333
Mike Grier BUF 36 $1,500,000
Joel Ward NAS 30 $1,500,000
Pascl Dupuis PIT 32 $1,400,000
Jarkko Ruutu ANA 35 $1,300,000
John Madden MIN 38 $1,250,000
Rob Niedermayer BUF 36 $1,250,000
Tomas Kopecky CHI 29 $1,200,000
Petr Prucha PHO 28 $1,200,000
Marty Reasoner FLA 34 $1,150,000
Todd Marchant ANA 37 $1,125,000
Vernon Fiddler PHO 31 $1,100,000
Maxime Talbot PIT 27 $1,050,000
Patrick Rissmiller FLA 32 $1,000,000
Aaron Voros TOR 29 $1,000,000
Matt Bradley WAS 33 $1,000,000
Raffi Torres VAN 29 $1,000,000
Ruslan Fedotenko NYR 32 $1,000,000
Ben Eager SAN 27 $965,000
Alexandre Picard PHO 25 $868,219
Michael Rupp PIT 31 $825,000
Brian Sutherby DAL 29 $812,500
Marek Svatos OTT 29 $800,000
Boyd Gordon WAS 27 $800,000
Ville Leino PHI 27 $800,000
Marcel Goc NAS 27 $775,000
Darcy Hordichuk FLA 30 $775,000
Scott Nichol SAN 36 $760,000
Eric Godard PIT 31 $750,000
Eric Belanger PHO 33 $750,000
Patrick Eaves DET 27 $750,000
Fredrik Sjostrom TOR 28 $750,000
Brendan Morrison CGY 35 $725,000
Sean Bergenheim TBL 27 $700,000
Arron Asham PIT 33 $700,000
Brad Winchester ANA 30 $700,000
Jonas Andersson VAN 30 $675,000
Kyle Wellwood SAN 28 $650,000
Eric Boulton WIN 34 $650,000
Drew Miller DET 27 $650,000
Tanner Glass VAN 27 $625,000
Ryan Carter FLA 27 $625,000
Andrew Murray CLB 30 $625,000
Ryan Shannon OTT 28 $625,000
Matt Ellis BUF 29 $625,000
Jeff LoVecchio FLA 25 $605,000
Jamal Mayers SAN 36 $600,000
Cam Janssen STL 27 $600,000
Jamie Lundmark NAS 30 $600,000
Mark Parrish BUF 34 $600,000
Adam Hall TBL 30 $600,000
Zenon Konopka NYI 30 $600,000
Jeff Halpern MTL 35 $600,000
Kyle Wilson CLB 26 $600,000
Kris Chucko CGY 25 $600,000
Aaron Gagnon DAL 25 $600,000
Mark Mancari BUF 25 $575,000
Andy Hilbert NYI 30 $575,000
David Koci COL 30 $575,000
Tim Brent TOR 27 $575,000
Raymond Sawada DAL 26 $575,000
Ben Guite CLB 32 $575,000
Wade Belak NAS 34 $575,000
Josh Green ANA 33 $575,000
Trevor Frischmon CLB 29 $575,000
John Zeiler LAK 28 $558,333

Top 50 Defensemen

Ed Jovanovski PHO 35 $6,500,000
Bryan McCabe NYR 36 $5,750,000
Roman Hamrlik MTL 37 $5,500,000
Scott Hannan WAS 32 $4,500,000
Tomas Kaberle BOS 33 $4,250,000
Joni Pitkanen CAR 27 $4,000,000
Kevin Bieksa VAN 30 $3,750,000
Craig Rivet CLB 36 $3,500,000
Sami Salo VAN 36 $3,500,000
James Wisniewski MTL 27 $3,250,000
Christian Ehrhoff VAN 28 $3,100,000
Ian White SAN 27 $2,999,995
Steve Staios CGY 37 $2,700,000
Brent Sopel MTL 34 $2,333,333
Jim Vandermeer EDM 31 $2,300,000
Jan Hejda CLB 33 $2,000,000
Kent Huskins SAN 32 $1,700,000
Shane O’Brien NAS 27 $1,600,000
Steve Montador BUF 31 $1,550,000
Radek Martinek NYI 34 $1,500,000
Anton Babchuk CGY 27 $1,400,000
Karlis Skrastins DAL 36 $1,375,000
Sean O’Donnell PHI 39 $1,300,000
Adam Foote COL 39 $1,250,000
Steve Eminger NYR 27 $1,125,000
Severin Blindenbacher DAL 28 $1,112,500
Ruslan Salei DET 36 $1,100,000
Andrew Alberts VAN 29 $1,050,000
Brad Lukowich DAL 34 $1,000,000
Randy Jones TBL 29 $1,000,000
Marc-Andre Bergeron TBL 30 $1,000,000
Jonathan Ericsson DET 27 $900,000
Paul Mara MTL 31 $750,000
Andreas Lilja ANA 35 $750,000
Andy Greene NJD 28 $737,500
Jason Strudwick EDM 35 $725,000
Adam Pardy CGY 27 $700,000
David Hale OTT 30 $675,000
Jeff Woywitka DAL 27 $650,000
Sean Collins WAS 27 $650,000
Alexander Sulzer FLA 27 $650,000
Nathan Oystrick STL 28 $600,000
Jordan Hendry CHI 27 $600,000
Freddy Meyer WIN 30 $600,000
Drew Bagnall MIN 27 $600,000
Tyson Strachan STL 26 $600,000
Mathieu Roy TBL 27 $600,000
Dean Arsene STL 30 $600,000
Shawn Belle COL 26 $600,000
Danny Syvret PHI 26 $600,000

Top 20 Goalies

Jean-Sebastien Giguere TOR 34 $6,000,000
Tomas Vokoun FLA 34 $5,700,000
Pascal Leclaire OTT 28 $3,800,000
Dwayne Roloson TBL 41 $2,500,000
Mike Smith TBL 29 $2,200,000
Johan Hedberg NJD 38 $1,500,000
Chris Osgood DET 38 $1,416,667
Ty Conklin STL 35 $1,300,000
Marty Turco CHI 35 $1,300,000
Peter Budaj COL 28 $1,250,000
Josh Harding MIN 27 $1,200,000
Mathieu Garon CLB 33 $1,200,000
Jose Theodore MIN 34 $1,100,000
Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers EDM 27 $1,050,000
Alex Auld MTL 30 $1,000,000
Brian Boucher PHI 34 $925,000
Joey MacDonald DET 31 $550,000
Curtis McElhinney OTT 28 $535,000
Martin Gerber EDM 36 $500,000
Ray Emery ANA 28 $500,000

Flames still face cap challenges after Lucic – Neal trade

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The Calgary Flames faced a cap crunch with James Neal on the books, and they still face potential issues with Milan Lucic being traded in at $500K cheaper.

[More on the contract situations here, and Lucic vs. Neal on ice in this post.]

That’s a lot of money under most circumstances, but $500K goes fast in the modern NHL. In fact, $500K wouldn’t cover the minimum salary of a single player. Every dollar could end up counting for the Flames, so it’s nothing to sneeze at, but things could be tight nonetheless. It may even force someone other than Neal out of the fold.

While the Flames currently boast an estimated $9.973 million in cap space, according to Cap Friendly, that money will dry up quickly. They still need to hammer out deals for RFAs Matthew Tkachuk, David Rittich, Sam Bennett, and Andrew Mangiapane.

Really, would it shock you if Tkachuk and Rittich came in at $10M combined? Such costs are real considerations for the Flames, assuming they can’t convince Tkachuk to take a Kevin Labanc-ian discount.

In Ryan Pike’s breakdown of the cap situation for Flames Nation, he found that Calgary may still have trouble fitting everyone under the cap by his estimations, even if the Flames bought out overpriced defenseman Michael Stone. Buying out Stone seems like a good starting point as we consider some of the calls Treliving might need to make before the Flames’ roster is solidified.

Buying out Stone in August: Stone, 29, has one year left on a deal that carries a $3.5M cap hit and matching salary. If the Flames bought him out, they’d save $2.33M in 2019-20, as Stone’s buyout would register a cap hit of about $1.167M in 2019-20 and 2020-21.

As frustrating as it would be for the Flames to combine dead money in a Stone buyout with Troy Brouwer‘s buyout (remaining $1.5M for the next three seasons), it might just be necessary. Really, it might be the easiest decision of all.

Granted, maybe someone like the Senators would take on Stone’s contract if the Flames bribed them with picks and/or prospects, much like the Hurricanes did in taking Patrick Marleau off of the Maple Leafs’ hands?

Either way, there’s a chance Stone won’t be making $3.5M with the Flames next season.

Trade Sam Bennett’s rights? With things getting really snug, and the forward unlikely to justify being the fourth pick of the 2014 NHL Draft, maybe the Flames would be better off moving on by sending Bennett/his RFA rights to another team and filling that roster spot with a cheaper option?

If a team coughed up a decent pick and/or prospect for Bennett, assuming he needs a change of scenery, it could be a win for everyone. The Flames might not be comfortable about that yet with Bennett being 23, but it should at least be discussed.

Trade an expiring contract player? T.J. Brodie ($4.65M), Michael Frolik ($4.3M), and Travis Hamonic ($3.857M) all seem to be signed at reasonable prices, if not mild bargains. All three are only covered through 2019-20, however, making it reasonable to picture them as parts of various trade scenarios. In fact, TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports that the Flames were working on a potential deal involving Brodie and then-Maple Leafs forward Nazem Kadri, and Kadri admitted on “31 Thoughts” that he didn’t waive his clause to allow Calgary to trade for him.

***

Over the years, including this summer with LaBanc and Timo Meier signing sweet deals for the Sharks, sometimes RFAs take care off cap concerns for their teams. There are scenarios where such constraints actually help the given team land some discounts; it sure felt that way when the Bruins got a deal with Torey Krug back in 2016.

As of this writing, it seems like the Flames might face a tight squeeze in fitting under the cap.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

How Flames, Oilers might handle Lucic, Neal after big trade

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In the additional breakdown of the Milan LucicJames Neal trade, you might conclude that it’s basically a one-for-one deal, conditional draft pick aside. You can get an idea of how the two players are in remarkably similar places in their careers by reading the original breakdown.

Even their contracts look virtually the same … at least at first.

The players are close enough that it’s far from a guarantee that the Oilers will need to hand that third-rounder to their rivals in Calgary.

It’s only once you start digging deeper that you realize that, beyond James Neal being closer to his best days than Lucic, his contract is also a lot easier to deal with, for the most part. Once you start considering those factors, you might once again be surprised that the Oilers convinced the Flames to accept Lucic’s contract.

This was a case of two teams trading problems, and while both players have a decent chance to rebound to at least some extent, the true winner of this trade might be the team that can continue to clean up their messes.

To sort through the especially messy Lucic contract, you have to pull back your sleeves and get in the weeds. So, fair warning: this might make your brain melt a bit, but if you’re interested in what might happen next, these factors are important.

No movement, indeed

Lucic’s contract is an albatross deal for reasons that extend beyond Lucic not being worth $6M (and still not worth $5.25M) per year.

For one thing, while Lucic waived his no-movement clause to make this trade happen, it sounds like Lucic will retain his NMC … for some reason.

Frankly, if this is a matter of the Flames simply being nice, then they may rue such kindness in the future.

Most directly, if Lucic’s NMC is restored, then he might kabosh a trade down the line. Beyond that, there’s a scenario where the Flames might have to protect Lucic in an expansion draft, rather than someone more valuable. It’s possible that Lucic will return the Flames’ gesture by waiving his NMC in that situation (kind of like Marc-Andre Fleury doing the Penguins a solid in the Vegas expansion draft), yet the threat of complications can make you queasy.

Even if it works out, it all seems pretty messy to me. The other potential escape routes are messy for Calgary, too.

Easier to sell the deal than to buy it out

It’s been mentioned that the bonus-heavy structure of Lucic’s contract makes his deal almost “buyout proof.”

That’s pretty much true, as buying out Lucic would bring out marginal savings for the Flames, even if you move the buyout to a later year than the most immediate chance after next season.

Realistically, the most reasonable way Calgary might wiggle out of some of the tougher years of Lucic’s contract would be to find a team like the Senators: a franchise in place where they value contracts that don’t cost as much as their cap hits indicate. For example: the Flames could pay Lucic’s $3M bonus before 2020-21, then trade him to Ottawa, who would be credited with his $5.25M cap hit, even though they’d only be on the hook for the remaining $1M in base salary. That scenario would be even more appealing to a cost-conscious team in the last year of Lucic’s contract, so check Cap Friendly if you’re curious about other possibilities.

Unfortunately for Calgary, even if they found a buyer, they’d seemingly need to get Lucic to play ball. The veteran winger might not be so thrilled to go to a rebuilding team.

Ultimately, the Flames are taking a significant gamble that this Lucic situation will work out better than sticking with Neal. If not, people will point to Treliving taking on Lucic much like, well, Peter Chiarelli also gambling on the big winger.

*gulp*

Neal’s cleaner situation

Puck Pedia notes some potential twists and turns, but overall, the Oilers didn’t just get a player in closer proximity to his best times of production; Neal’s contract is, mostly, a lot easier to deal with. Even if it’s bad, too.

As you can see from Cap Friendly’s buyout calculator, a cap-strapped Oilers team could benefit from a buyout, including one as early as 2020:

Saving close to $4M for three seasons, even if it means tacking on almost $2M for the following two seasons, could easily make a lot of sense for the Oilers, if they determine that a Neal buyout is the right move.

In general, they have more control of the situation, as Neal’s contract lacks a no-movement or no-trade clause. That’s kind of tragic in a way, as Neal’s already bounced around the league like a pinball, but it’s nonetheless the case.

Granted, the one area where Lucic might be a more plausible trade clip is because there’s not really any smoke and mirrors with Neal’s contract. While Lucic’s bonus-soaked contract makes him difficult to buyout, his falling salary vs. cap hit appeals to certain rebuild scenarios. Neal, meanwhile, simply costs $5.75M each season.

Still, that lack of a no-movement clause reduces Edmonton’s odds of worst-case scenarios. For instance: the Oilers wouldn’t need to protect Neal in an expansion draft, which could open up moments of tragic comedy where Neal finds himself with a new team and an expansion franchise again.

Overall, a buyout seems most feasible, although there’s the outside chance that Neal rebounds to become a deadly sniper again alongside Connor McDavid and/or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

***

Every trade carries the tagline of “to be continued,” but this swap seems especially friendly to that caveat. Is the plan for the Flames, Oilers, or both of these teams to ultimately get rid of Neal and/or Lucic all along? If so, at what cost?

Maybe the play of Neal and Lucic will decide the “winner” of this trade, but most likely, it comes down to which team does the best job cleaning up the messes they’ve made.

Check out the original post for more on this trade, including a look at where Neal and Lucic are in their careers.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Trade: Flames get Lucic; Oilers receive Neal

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Call it a “change of scenery,” or probably most directly, trading problems. Either way, Alberta rivals the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers made a truly resounding trade on Friday, with the main takeaway being that Milan Lucic goes to the Flames, while James Neal is bound for Edmonton.

Yeah, wow.

Multiple reporters indicate that it’s close to one-for-one, although there are a few minor tweaks to consider.

The Calgary Herald’s Kristen Anderson reports that the Oilers are retaining 12.5 percent of Milan Lucic’s salary, which translates to $750K, while Edmonton is also sending Calgary a conditional third-round pick in 2020. It’s not clear yet what those conditions are.

If Anderson and others are correct, that means the trade boils down to:

Flames receive: Lucic, 31, minus $750K per year. That puts Lucic at $5.25M, with his contract running through 2022-23. Calgary also receives Edmonton’s 2020 third-round pick, if conditions are met.

Oilers receive: Neal, 31, who has a $5.75M cap hit that runs through 2022-23.

As you can see, the two players remain very similar in both cap hit, term, and even age. The Flames save $500K in cap space, while the Oilers add $500K, as Puck Pedia confirms.

Of course, when you’re talking about contracts teams largely want to get away from, it’s often about more than just cap hits. There are some significant ins and outs to that side of the discussion, including Lucic’s deal being essentially “buyout proof.” Neal, meanwhile, would be easier for the Oilers to buy out, if they decide to do that after an audition with the team.

On Saturday, PHT will try to wade through the variety of paths the two teams could take, whether it means sticking with Lucic and Neal respectively, or going for a buyout or trade. For now, let’s consider where they are in their careers.

Lucic’s tough times

After a productive first season in Edmonton where Lucic scored 23 goals and 50 points in 2016-17, Lucic plummeted down the depth chart and in production. This past season was rock bottom, as Lucic scored just six goals and 20 points in 79 games.

The bet on Lucic, some might say in part leading to the dreadful Taylor Hall trade, stands as one of the landmark gaffes of Peter Chiarelli’s Era of Error in Edmonton. It was clear that both the player and team needed to part ways, so now there’s at least peace in that regard.

A bumpy path for Neal, and brutal times in Calgary

Whether you like Neal – a player who absolutely goes over the line at times, when he loses his cool – or not, it’s tough not to feel for him after the last several years.

He was traded from the Stars to the Penguins in 2011, scapegoated a bit out of Pittsburgh on his way to Nashville in 2014, then scooped up by Vegas in the 2017 expansion draft, only to sign with the Flames (possibly in a relatively lukewarm free agent market) last summer. Now this trade sends Neal to Edmonton, making this the 31-year-old’s sixth NHL team, and his fourth in his past four seasons. Players as productive as Neal – aside from last season’s meltdown – rarely become journeymen like this.

Honestly, should we just get his nameplate ready for the Seattle [Unfortunately Not Supersonics] right now?

Despite that upheaval, Neal had been a guy who could score goals nonetheless. He peaked with 40 during his best days with Malkin in Pittsburgh (an 81-point output in 2011-12), but he sniped in multiple climates, generating 20+ goals in 10 consecutive seasons.

And then this Calgary season happened.

Neal never clicked with Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan, as Elias Lindholm instead took that plum gig. Neal slipped lower and lower in the lineup, sometimes becoming a healthy scratch, and ended 2018-19 with Lucic-like numbers (though in fewer games), as Neal managed only seven goals and 19 points. He was also an all-around disaster, as you can see from RAPM charts via Evolving Hockey that argue that, in some ways, Lucic was actually better last season, as Lucic at least wasn’t as much of a defensive disaster as Neal. Faint praise, but still:

Better times ahead, maybe?

Again, it’s easy to forget that both wingers are 31.

That’s not a great age to be when your contract looks inflated, but there’s also a chance that maybe both could turn things around, at least to some degree. With Neal closer to more productive seasons than Lucic, he’d seem to be a more likely candidate, especially if his rifle of a shot pairs nicely with Connor McDavid‘s all-world playmaking.

But both players have a shot at positive regression. Neal’s five percent shooting percentage from 2018-19 marked the only time in his career that he’s been below 10.4 percent, while Lucic shot at 6.8 in 2017-18 and 8.1 in 2018-19, compared to his career average of 13.5 percent.

Modest rebounds wouldn’t guarantee that either Neal or Lucic sticks around in their new climates. Improvements might just make each forward easier to trade, and more palatable to keep around while looking for trades. There’s simply a lot of room for “to be continued” elements to this move, from buyouts to trades and more.

***

As discussed above, there could still be twists and turns in these sagas, and some of those possibilities will be examined on Saturday. Yet, at this moment in time, this seems like the rare trade win for the Oilers. Maybe this is the start of a positive pattern now that Ken Holland is GM?

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Trouba gets seven-year, $56 million deal from Rangers

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The New York Rangers have locked up Jacob Trouba with a seven-year, $56 million contract.

Trouba saw his restricted free agent rights acquired by the Rangers last month from the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for defenseman Neal Pionk and 2019 first-round pick (Ville Heinola). General manager Jeff Gorton added up front by bringing Artemi Panarin to Broadway on July 1, so you knew that they were going to eventually come to an agreement to keep the 25-year-old defenseman in the fold following the June trade as they bulk up for a run in 2019-20.

“They’re building a winner tends to be the vibe I’ve gotten,” said Trouba following the trade to New York. “They treat the players first class. It’s very first-class organization. I mean, it’s New York so you’ve got a big stage and they expect a lot out of their team. We want to ultimately get to the Stanley Cup.”

 

Earlier this month Trouba had elected salary arbitration and had a July 25 date scheduled. But that was merely a formality to allow extra time for both sides to hammer out a deal.

According to PuckPedia, $22 million will be paid to Trouba over the next three seasons via signing bonuses and he has a no-move clause from 2020-21 to 2023-24 and a limited no-trade clause in the final two years of the deal.

[ProHockeyTalk’s 2019 NHL free agency tracker]

The ninth overall pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, Trouba has spent the last six seasons with the Jets, playing 408 games and recording 42 goals and 179 points. In 2018-19 he set a career high with 50 points, making him the ninth defenseman 25 or younger to hit that mark in the past three seasons.

Gorton still has work to do this summer in deciding whether to re-sign RFAs Pavel Buchnevich (July 29 arbitration hearing), Brendan Lemieux and Tony DeAngelo, while working around the salary cap, which after this signing puts them over the ceiling. This could end up leading to a trade of Chris Kreider, who’s entering the final year of this deal carrying a $4.625 million cap hit but owed $4 million in salary for the coming season. They also have a 48-hour buyout window later this summer as well even if they settle with Buchnevich before his hearing.

MORE: Jets were never going to get enough for Trouba

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.