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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Here are the need-to-know picks from the CHL Import Draft

Filip Hronek (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The CHL Import Draft establishes major junior rights for European players and it’s never a dull process. Because the kids picked are under no pressure to come over here, it’s never just a matter of Best Player Available. And since junior teams all have different rebuilding/contending cycles, sometimes BPA is irrelevant anyway. Some have already been drafted by NHL teams; other younger picks are hoping to boost their stock for upcoming drafts. Each CHL franchise gets two picks, but some pass because they are already set with their quota of two imports. With another draft in the books, let’s take a look at some of the most important names that were called today.

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Eric Lindros finally elected to Hall of Fame, along with Sergei Makarov, Rogie Vachon, and Pat Quinn

Ian Denomme
Eric Lindros.

At last, Eric Lindros is a Hall of Famer.

‘The Big E’, the bruising power forward who, when healthy, dominated the game for periods in the 1990s with the Philadelphia Flyers, was officially elected as part of the 2016 Hockey Hall of Fame class announced on Monday.

This was Lindros’ seventh year of eligibility, and he had seen 19 other players elected during that time before he finally got the call. But with a weak class of first-year eligible players, there was no denying Lindros a spot this time around.

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Lindros, Makarov head field of “leftovers” for Hall of Fame

Brian Costello
lindros-136301606

If Eric Lindros is ever going to make the Hockey Hall of Fame, Monday’s vote is his best opportunity yet. Now in his seventh year of eligibility, ‘The Big E’ has seen 19 players get the green light to Hall induction since 2010 while the selection committee said no to him.

This year’s list of first-time eligible players is lean, with Miikka Kiprusoff, Roman Hamrlik and Wade Redden the top names. All are considered long shots to get 75 percent approval from the 18 members of the selection committee. So then maybe 2016 becomes a make-up year for candidates who were previously passed over.

Lindros is at the head of that leftover class. He was among the best players in the game for the first half of his injury-riddled career, winning the Hart Trophy with 29 goals and 70 points in a lockout-shortened 1994-95 – that prorates to 52 goals and 125 points over a full 82 games. He finished in the top 10 in Hart Trophy voting four other seasons, all with the Philadelphia Flyers.

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Best picks by round on Day 2 of the draft

Carter Hart (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

BUFFALO – On Day 2 of the draft, team preference plays such a huge role in when kids get picked. But for my money, there were some definite winners by round. In some cases, it was teams that made solid multiple selections. In other cases, it was a matter of the value they got in one player. Here are my winners for Day 2.

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Flyers ink physical defender Gudas to four-year, $13.4-million deal

Jared Clinton
Radko Gudas (Al Bello/Getty Images)

Philadelphia fans have been known to enjoy when the Flyers have an edge or a feistiness to them, so there’s good reason why Radko Gudas became somewhat of a fan favorite for his take-no-prisoners style of play. And Flyers fans will be glad to know that Gudas isn’t going anywhere.

It was announced Thursday evening that Gudas, 26, has signed a four-year deal to remain in Philadelphia, and Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston reported the contract is worth $13.4 million. The deal came with Gudas set to become a restricted free agent, having just completed a three-year, $2.975-million deal.

Gudas’ raise, which is a significant one that will see him earn $3.35 million per season, could come in handy, especially when it comes to paying off potential fines. This past season, Gudas was fined and suspended once by the NHL, but he was involved in at least a handful of questionable, borderline incidents that could have seen him slapped with further suspensions or fines. Read more

Vincent Lecavalier officially announces retirement after 17 seasons

Vincent Lecavalier (Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images)

Upon being traded to the Los Angeles Kings, Vincent Lecavalier said his time in the NHL would come to a close following one final playoff push. That push lasted all of five games, but the veteran center followed through on his word that his career was coming to a close, making his retirement official Tuesday afternoon.

In a statement released through the Kings, the 36-year-old said that he has informed the team of his decision and will now devote his time to his family.

“I want to take this opportunity to thank the people who have helped me along the way and shared this journey with me,” Lecavalier said in the release. “First and foremost, I would like to thank my parents, my wife, Caroline, my brother Philippe, sister Genevieve and my entire family. I could not have accomplished anything without your love and support.” Read more

Maple Leafs’ Cowen, Flyers’ Umberger first players to be bought out

Jared Clinton
R.J. Umberger (Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

The NHL’s buyout window officially opened Wednesday, and Thursday afternoon saw the Toronto Maple Leafs and Philadelphia Flyers become the first teams to take advantage of the opportunity to get rid of a contract.

Jared Cowen’s contract was the first to fall, as the Maple Leafs placed the 25-year-old blueliner on unconditional waivers for the purposes of a buyout on Wednesday. He cleared waivers Thursday afternoon to make the process official.

Cowen didn’t play a single game for Toronto and it had been clear for the final few months of the 2015-16 campaign that the Maple Leafs were going to rid themselves of Cowen’s contract come mid-June. The reason for the buyout is two-fold, though. First, Cowen doesn’t fit into what the Maple Leafs are building and he wasn’t in coach Mike Babcock’s plans, nor was he part of the future of the team. The second, much more interesting, reason is that buying out Cowen’s contract provides Toronto with a cap credit of $650,000 for 2016-17.

That’s right: the Maple Leafs earned salary space by buying out the final year of the rearguard’s four-year, $12.4-million deal. They will be on the hook for $750,000 in 2017-18, however. Read more