Senators’ Chiasson awarded one-year, $1.2 million deal through arbitration

Jared Clinton
Alex Chiasson (Graig Abel/Getty Images)

Alex Chiasson and the Ottawa Senators failed to come to terms on a new contract before or after his arbitration hearing, so a league-appointed arbitrator decided the fate of Chiasson’s next deal.

Following a July 23 arbitration, Chiasson was handed a one-year deal worth $1.2 million, only a slight raise from the $900,000 he earned last season, which was his first in an Ottawa uniform. Chiasson came to Ottawa as part of the trade of Jason Spezza to Dallas, which also brought Alexander Guptill, Nick Paul and a 2015 second-round pick to the Senators.

This past season, Chiasson, 24, scored 11 goals and 26 points in 76 games for the Senators while averaging less than 13:30 of ice time per outing. He became a healthy scratch in the post-season, sitting out Games 3 and 4 of Ottawa’s first-round series against the Montreal Canadiens. Chiasson didn’t find the score sheet in the playoffs. Read more

Why hasn’t your team done anything this off-season?

Tampa Bay GM Steve Yzerman.  (Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

We’ve seen plenty of turnover on NHL rosters so far this summer, setting up what appears to be even crazier parity than normal in each division. The Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers and San Jose Sharks made major moves in the Pacific. The Washington Capitals jazzed up their top two lines in the Metropolitan. The Chicago Blackhawks did anything but sit on their championship team, making over a quarter of their roster.

A bushel of franchises, however, have been oddly quiet so far. Some are justified in their thought process. Others have their angry fans yelling “DO something!”

Why do some of these teams appear to be deer in the headlights right now? There’s a plausible explanation for each, though some are more maddening than others.

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10 players facing make or break seasons in 2015-16

Justin Schultz  (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)

The Edmonton Oilers avoided arbitration with Justin Schultz Wednesday by inking the 25-year-old blueliner to a one-year, $3.9 million deal. But the arbitration wasn’t Schultz’s choice. Rather, it was the Oilers who wanted to plead their case for a lower cost on Schultz’s contract.

However, by opting for team-elected arbitration – which, as mentioned, has now been avoided with the one-year contract – Edmonton was essentially giving Schultz an ultimatum: if he wants to keep his spot in the Oilers lineup for what he believes to be fair value, he’s going to have to prove that he’s worth it. Thus, the one-year deal.

Schultz isn’t the only restricted free agent signed to a one-year contract and he’s not the only player who can, as Mike Babcock put it with regards to Nazem Kadri, “put the screws,” to his club. On the flip side, though, one bad year could see some franchises giving up on their young guns.

Here are 10 players who could have make-or-break seasons in 2014-15: Read more

Rumor Roundup: Red Wings, Senators trade buzz

Lyle Richardson
Jimmy Howard (Mike Stobe/National Hockey League)

The Detroit Red Wings made a couple of recent notable additions via free agency, signing defenseman Mike Green and center Brad Richards. Still, one Detroit sports talk show host believes there’s more to be done.

Writing for the Detroit Free Press, Jamie Samuelsen suggests Wings management try to find a taker for goaltender Jimmy Howard. Samuelsen notes Petr Mrazek proved himself as a starter during Detroit’s first-round series against the Tampa Bay Lightning. In his estimation, that makes Howard (earning $5.5 million in actual salary for 2015-16) an expensive backup.

Howard, 31, might attract some interest around the league. The Buffalo Sabres, Edmonton Oilers and San Jose Sharks currently lack experienced starting goaltenders. Back in April, however, Wings GM Ken Holland said his preference was to have Howard and Mrazek battle for the starter’s job in training camp. Read more

Luke Richardson agrees to one-year deal to coach AHL Senators

Jared Clinton
Luke Richardson (via Binghamton Senators/YouTube)

In late-May, it was reported that the Ottawa Senators had tabled an offer to free agent bench boss Luke Richardson in hopes that he would come back for at least one more season to coach the AHL’s Binghamton Senators.

That became a reality Tuesday, as the Senators announced the club and Richardson have come to terms on a new, one-year deal that will bring him back to Binghamton for the 2015-16 campaign.

“We’re very excited to have Luke back behind the bench next season,” said Binghamton Senators general manager Randy Lee in a release. “As we witnessed with last week’s development camp, the growth and development of the young players in our organization is one of our highest priorities. Luke has shown a tremendous ability to push our players to be better and, even more importantly, to be fully prepared when they get the call to the National Hockey League.” Read more

Arbitration season: Derek Stepan is gonna get paid

Derek Stepan. (Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

The NHL arbitration process is really no fun for anyone involved, since it brings negotiation into a formal setting and forces teams and their players to square off. Teams have to pretend that their own players aren’t really that good and hurt feelings can have long-standing consequences.

Which is why most arbitration cases get settled before the actual hearing. In fact, the Washington Capitals and goaltender Braden Holtby are already saying all the right things and trying to get something done beforehand. So there might not actually be much arbitration to hear about this summer, but there are some interesting scenarios nonetheless. Here’s a look at five high-profile cases:

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Senators hire former Avalanche assistant Andre Tourigny

Jared Clinton
Andre Tourigny speaks with Patrick Roy. (Michael Martin/Getty Images)

Nearly two months after resigning from his post as an assistant coach with the Colorado Avalanche, Andre Tourigny has signed on to join Ottawa Senators coach Dave Cameron behind the bench.

Tourigny left his gig in Colorado, where he was serving as a defensive coach on Patrick Roy’s staff, back in mid May to seek other opportunities. Some had believed it could mean a return back to the QMJHL for Tourigny, who is a former coach of the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, but instead he’s found himself a spot back in the big leagues. Read more

Winners and losers after the first round of the draft

Noah Hanifin (photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

SUNRISE – The start of the draft went 1-2-3 as expected, but as the first round got deeper, things veered in surprising directions. Who were the winners and losers on the night? I didn’t count Edmonton and Buffalo, since we always knew they’d have a good night. Otherwise, here’s how I saw things go down:

Winners

Carolina

My intel was that Noah Hanifin was not going to fall past Carolina at No. 5 and sure enough, the Canes pounced on the exceptional defenseman when Toronto passed on his services. Hanifin had an amazing second half at Boston College and should he return, he’ll be the cornerstone of the Eagles.

Russians

The first big shock of the draft came when Dallas tabbed right winger Denis Gurianov with the 12th pick. Though the ‘Russian Factor’ may still be a thing for some franchises (Columbus, for example), Stars GM Jim Nill has not been afraid to take Russians who played back home during his tenure. After all, Valeri Nichushkin was his first-ever pick.

“I’m not too worried about him going back to Russia,” Nill said. “He’s going back there next year, we knew that all along. But we’re looking for the best player available three, four years down the road and we’re comfortable that he’s going to come over and play for us.”

Another Russian with KHL ties, goalie Ilya Samsonov, went to Washington. Thanks to Alex Ovechkin, the Caps have been a mecca for talented young Russians for years and in Samsonov the Caps landed the most highly-rated netminder in the draft class.

Add in CHLers Ivan Provorov (Philadelphia) and Evgeny Svechnikov (Detroit) and you have the most Russian first rounders since 2004, when Ovie and Evgeny Malkin headlined the festivities.

The NCAA

The college ranks set a new standard with three first-rounders in the top eight picks thanks to Hanifin, Jack Eichel (Buffalo) and Zach Werenski (Columbus). It was a grand year for NCAA hockey and this first round was the capper. Miami-bound Jack Roslovic (Winnipeg) was a nice surprise too, as he was seen as a borderline first-rounder.

Ottawa

The Sens, who already have a great young roster, added a smart, slick-skating defenseman in Thomas Chabot and then a fast two-way/shutdown center in Colin White. Ottawa will be very tough to beat in a couple years if these kids shake out the way they are projected.

Losers

Small Guys

Once again this year, scouts sang the praises of players in the 5-foot-10 range, but couldn’t convince their bosses to pull the trigger early. While I didn’t expect Travis Konecny or Nick Merkley to go in the top 12, I thought one or both would go in the top 20. As it turned out, Konecny went 24th to Philly, while Merkley lasted until No. 30 when Arizona scooped him up.

“Obviously there were only a few guys 5-foot-10, 5-foot-11, and you get nervous about that,” Merkley said. “You just take it as it is and enjoy the moment.”

On the bright side, 5-foot-10 Anthony Beauvillier was a surprise first-rounder when the Islanders traded up to grab him 28th.

Boston

I don’t mean to pile on, but from an outsider’s view, the Bruins panicked tonight. Certainly when they acquired picks from Los Angeles and Calgary, they didn’t intend to use all three of their selections (which came 13, 14 and 15). But no trade emerged and the Bruins took two players they could have gotten later while passing on immense talents still on the board. Why didn’t they grab White, a Massachusetts product, or Kyle Connor, a future No. 1 center? Or, incredibly, Matt Barzal, who slipped to the Isles one pick later?