Who knew that today was “get your restricted free agents signed” day in the NHL? Earlier, Brad Marchand got locked in on a two year deal with Boston and potential RFA next season John Tavares is set to sign a six-year deal with the Islanders. Now it’s Zach Bogosian’s turn and his deal looks eerily similar to that of the one Marchand signed to stay in Boston.
Bogosian signed a two-year deal with the Jets worth $5 million to stay with Winnipeg. The $2.5 million cap hit over the next two seasons gives the Jets a nice, manageable contract to have and for Bogosian, this deal works as a “show me” deal. The length and terms of the deal are exactly the same as the contract Marchand signed today but considering where each guy was drafted, Marchand’s deal looks more like a reward for a job well done while Bogosian’s deal is a dangling carrot to chase after.
When Bogosian made his NHL debut with the Atlanta Thrashers two seasons ago, he came in as one of the most highly-touted defensemen in the 2008 NHL Draft going third overall. His first year in the league in 2009-2010 saw him play strong in 47 games for the Thrashers scoring nine goals and adding ten assists. The following season, his minutes went up and he scored 10 goals and 13 assists, but last season he struggled. Bogosian scored just five goals and added 12 assists last season and ended the year with career lows in points, goals, and plus/minus finishing the year as a -27.
With a new two-year deal in his hands, he’ll need to show Jets coach Claude Noel and GM Kevin Cheveldayoff that’s he’s the prospect the Thrashers felt he was and can be a more efficient player strong both offensively and defensively. If he can’t show that over the next two seasons, he could end up being one of the bigger disappointments from the 2008 draft. Having him be the third overall pick will only help highlight some of the problems the Thrashers organization had in assessing talent.
Bogosian has the talent to be a solid power play guy and an offensive defenseman but working with his third different coach in four years is going to make matters hard for the 21 year-old. Different coaches mean different systems and for a kid as young as Bogosian playing a position that often takes time to grow into and excel at, that hurts. Here’s to hoping that Claude Noel is the guy that can help Bogosian settle in and live up to his potential on the blue line.