Matthews’ bonus-laden contract proves Lamoriello is flexible, but firm

Ken Campbell
Lou Lamoriello (left) and Auston Matthews (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

To hear Toronto Maple Leafs GM Lou Lamoriello tell it, Auston Matthews was always going to get signed, always going to get the bonuses that were coming to him. Nothing to see here, folks. Move along.

Yes, it took a little longer than usual, but an entry-level contract with Matthews was announced Tuesday, 27 days after he was selected first overall. There had been an enormous amount of consternation about whether or not the Leafs and Matthews were at loggerheads about entry-level bonus money. During his many days with the New Jersey Devils, Lamoriello had a policy of not giving them to anyone. He also had a policy of no beards for anyone in the organization and everyone in the office had to wear a tie even in the summer, but it looks like Lamoriello is changing with the times.

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Why fast-tracking might not be the best idea for Las Vegas

George McPhee (left) and Bill Foley  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

It certainly doesn’t look as though either Bill Foley or George McPhee has the patience to slowly build their expansion team into a contender. Everything both of them said when McPhee was named GM of the team pointed to transforming this franchise into a contender sooner rather than later.

McPhee will certainly have a better chance at doing that than his predecessors. The expansion draft rules will give the team a chance to ice a competitive roster in the short term. By being able to protect only seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie or eight skaters and one goalie, some of the other 30 teams in the league will be forced to expose some legitimate NHL talent. But when you’re looking at, in a best-case scenario, the No. 8 forward, the No. 4 defenseman and the No. 2 goalie on each team’s depth chart who are third-year pros, the pickings might not be quite as spectacular as you might think.

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Buffalo Sabres push hard for NCAA star Jimmy Vesey

Jimmy Vesey (Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)

According to Mark Divver from the Providence Journal, the Buffalo Sabres sent an armada to Boston in the hopes of convincing left winger Jimmy Vesey to sign with the franchise. Vesey, whose rights were acquired from Nashville in the lead-up to the draft, is skating in his hometown and has a frenzy of activity surrounding his free agency decision.

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Why it might be a good thing for junior teams to pay minimum wage – and be fewer of them

Ken Campbell
QMJHL action  (Photo by Francois Laplante/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images)

Let’s get one thing out of the way immediately. I am not comparing junior hockey teams to sweatshops. That would be ridiculous. But it seems the arguments we’ve been hearing lately to keep junior hockey from paying its players minimum wage has some parallels to those who defend sweatshops.

There are those who will point out that as bad as sweatshops are, they’re a lot better than the alternative for a good number of people. Pulling a rickshaw or working the land for even less money than people make in a sweatshop can make the case for them a little more compelling. There have been those who have opined that some people in Third World countries are, in fact, better off because of the existence of sweatshops.

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