Senators’ sniper Hoffman says ‘first priority’ is to get deal done in Ottawa

Jared Clinton
Mike Hoffman (Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)

It hasn’t been easy for the Ottawa Senators and Mike Hoffman to find common ground when it comes to contract talks.

Ahead of the 2015-16 campaign, Hoffman, then 25, and the Senators headed to salary arbitration. The winger was looking for a one-year, $3.4-million deal. The Senators countered with a one-year offer worth $1.75 million. When the dust settled, Hoffman was back in Ottawa for the past season on a one-year, $2-million contract that was handed out in arbitration.

With the one-year deal up, though, Hoffman and the Senators are headed for arbitration once again unless they can come to terms on a new deal before Aug. 4. But Hoffman said the plan — or at least his hope — is that the two sides can come to terms on a deal that will keep him a Senator.

“That’s obviously my No. 1 goal,” Hoffman said, via The Ottawa Citizen. “I love Ottawa, I love the fans there. We’re a great team, great guys, so that’s obviously my first priority, to try to get something done with them.”

However, getting a deal done will almost assuredly mean the Senators are going to have to shell out more cash than they had previously after Hoffman upped his goal and point totals to new career highs on this past season’s one-year pact. Read more

Five salary arbitrations to keep an eye on as NHLPA announces hearing dates

Petr Mrazek (Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)

Free agency is well under way but the opportunity to negotiate a new deal has led a number of restricted free agents to salary arbitration.

The NHLPA announced the dates for the 24 arbitration hearings that are slated to take place between July 20 and Aug. 4, though some players have already reached agreements with their respective clubs ahead, helping both sides avoid arbitration.

The most productive player to avoid arbitration thus far is Kyle Palmieri, who posted 30 goals and 57 points in 82 games with the New Jersey Devils in 2015-16. Palmieri had filed to take the Devils to arbitration to hammer out a new deal on July 5, but New Jersey and Palmieri landed on a five-year, $23.25-million deal just two days later. Others who have filed but since settled include Detroit Red Wings minor-league goaltender Jared Coreau and Philadelphia Flyers winger Jordan Weal, both of whom signed deals worth over $600,000.

There are some big names still without contracts for the upcoming campaign, however. Here are five key arbitration hearings that could impact some important players: Read more

Red Wings will take Mrazek to arbitration, close to a deal for DeKeyser

Petr Mrazek  (Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

The most notable exclusion from the 24 players who filed for salary arbitration Tuesday was Petr Mrazek, but that doesn’t mean the Detroit Red Wings goaltender won’t be included in the process. Sources have told thn.com that the Red Wings will take Mrazek to arbitration before teams are required to file at 5 p.m. (eastern time) Wednesday.

This is a bit of a chess game here. Had Mrazek filed for arbitration, the Red Wings would have been able to choose either a one- or two-year reward. With the Red Wings filing, Mrazek will now have the choice of a one- or two-year award. Regardless, it means Mrazek is guaranteed to have a deal with the Red Wings for at least one season and will be available to the Red Wings for the start of the season. Mrazek is expected to be the Czech Republic’s No. 1 goaltender for the World Cup of Hockey.

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Here are the top 10 candidates for salary arbitration this summer

Petr Mrazek  (Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

It’s early July, so obviously there’s another important day coming up on the hockey calendar. Coming up next: the deadline for restricted free agents to file for arbitration, which is on the docket for Tuesday.

This will likely be a procedural day for many players because so few actually end up going the full distance in arbitration, but one thing it will do is tell us which players will definitely be in uniform for their teams at the start of training camp in the fall. That’s because arbitration forces a ruling on both sides, meaning the player is under contract for either one or two more seasons.

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Former NHLer Bill Muckalt a rising star in the coaching game

The Hockey News
Bill Muckalt. (Getty Images)

BY MURRAY PAM

Fifteen years ago this week Bill Muckalt was on an emotional high. A piece in one of the most lopsided trades in NHL annals, Muckalt was dealt by the Islanders along with Zdeno Chara and the 2001 second-overall draft pick (Jason Spezza) to the Senators for Alexei Yashin.

The former Michigan Wolverine was elated to play for a contender. However, Muckalt’s season didn’t go as anticipated. In limited ice-time, the right winger failed to notch a goal in 70 games. After netting 11 the previous campaign and scoring 105 at Michigan, Muckalt compared his Ottawa experience to “missing the cut at the Masters.”

Inking a deal with the Wild during the summer, he quickly returned to form, scoring five goals in his first five games. Then disaster struck. Muckalt suffered a debilitating shoulder injury, limiting him to only eight more games the remainder of the season including playoffs, which turned out to be his last in the NHL.

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