The contracts came in within minutes of each other and both came with big dollar amounts. Columbus signed new left winger Brandon Saad to a six-year, $36 million contract, while Buffalo extended recently acquired center Ryan O’Reilly for seven years at $7.5 million per season. Let’s walk through the sticker shock.
It’s safe to say things turned out probably better than both Brad Richards and the Chicago Blackhawks could have imagined last season and the Detroit Red Wings are banking on a repeat performance, both for Richards and the team.
Richards, who was thought to be on his last stop when he signed for just $2 million with the Blackhawks last summer, earned himself at least a $1 million dollar raise on his new deal, a deal that will escalate to a total of $4 million if the Red Wings advance to the Eastern Conference final in 2015-16. If that happens, that is a total the Red Wings will only be too happy to have to pay.
Bieksa, who went from the Vancouver Canucks to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for a second-round pick in 2016, was said to be closing in on an extension with the team as early as Tuesday evening. As of Wednesday morning, it was reported by Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman that Bieksa has his new deal.
According to Friedman, the extension is for two years at $8 million and also carries a no-trade clause. The terms of the clause – whether it’s limited and, if so, to how many teams – have not been reported. The average cap hit of $4 million is less than what Bieksa is currently making, as his current deal has the Ducks on the hook for $4.6 million hit this upcoming season. Read more
At first glance, it’s pretty tempting to look at the return Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman got for Brandon Saad and deem it to be underwhelming. Like, really underwhelming. But Bowman also realizes, perhaps better than any other GM in the business, that when you’re not dealing from a position of strength, your pals in the GM fraternity are more likely to throw you an anchor than a life preserver.
Either that, or Marko Dano is going to be a lot better than everyone thought. Or perhaps Bowman, who seems to know a little bit about evaluating talent, saw in Saad a player whose value was perhaps a little inflated by playing with Jonathan Toews so much and being part of such a strong team. No doubt, he saw an offer sheet coming. But if that offer sheet had contained a six at the front of the salary number, the Blackhawks would have received a first-, second- and third-round choice. Instead, they dealt Saad and two prospects to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for Artem Anisimov, Dano, Jeremy Morin, Corey Tropp and a fourth-round pick in 2016.
It was clear changes would be coming for the Chicago Blackhawks following their 2015 Stanley Cup championship, but no one would have expected those changes to include trading away burgeoning star Brandon Saad. But with their hand forced, the Blackhawks did exactly that.
Chicago confirmed Tuesday afternoon that they have dealt restricted free agent Saad, along with prospects Alex Broadhurst and Michael Paliotta, to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for a four-player package that includes Artem Anisimov, Marko Dano, Jeremy Morin, Corey Tropp and a fourth-round selection in the 2016 draft.
News of the deal took the hockey world by storm. Less than half an hour after the first reports of the deal between Chicago and Columbus first surfaced from Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the deal had gone through and Saad was sent packing to the Blue Jackets. Read more
While there’s no cause for panic in the Windy City quite yet, a report out of Chicago says the Blackhawks and restricted free agent Brandon Saad are “further apart on a new deal than initially expected.”
According to CBS Chicago’s Jay Zawaski, Saad’s camp and the Blackhawks have differing opinions on not only what the 22-year-old free agent should be getting in terms of salary, but also what the length of the contract should be. From Zawaski’s report, the Blackhawks would prefer to ink the winger to a short-term deal that would allow them some salary cap flexibility now while Saad is seeking a long-term contract that would carry him into unrestricted free agency.
On the short-term deal, the Blackhawks are seeking to land Saad at roughly $2.8 million per year, Zawaski reported. But Saad’s camp sees the long-term deal carrying an annual price tag closer to $4 million, possibly more. Read more
The CHL’s Import Draft was held today, giving every major junior team on the continent a chance to pick up some prime European talent. Franchises are allowed to play two Euros on their roster, but no goaltenders. Teams that have a European player taken in the first round of the NHL can select a third player’s rights as well, in case the first-rounder ends up leaving.
With that out of the way, let’s look at how things went down. Consider this a non-comprehensive list, as I am cobbling together commitments or denials as I receive them from various sources in the industry.
NHL unrestricted free agency begins on July 1, but the thin market for available talent has teams considering better options via the trade market.
Vancouver Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa is garnering considerable interest. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports 10 teams are looking at the 34-year-old blueliner who has a year left on his contract at a cap hit of $4.6 million. Friedman also claims Bieksa was nearly dealt to the San Jose Sharks, but after a week of talks the deal fell through before the draft.
The Canucks have just over $6.1 million in cap space for 2015-16 and must shed salary for other potential moves. Given the interest in Bieksa, the Canucks could ship him out before the free agent market opens. Failing that, they could gauge interest from clubs that failed to land the few decent UFA defensemen currently available. Read more