Friday, 8 July 2016

Ink, A Parade, And A Giveaway

The title of this article may be a little deceiving for readers as there are no new tattoos (or any tattoos at all at this moment) to speak of nor did I attend or participate in a parade nor am I giving anything away. All three things - ink, parade, a giveaway - happened in the hockey world today as there were some major signings, a parade that two Calgary-based teams took part in, and one team literally gave away a goaltender. Because this is a jumble of stories, the grab bag image seems to work well as we take a look at what happened today.


We had discussed the possibility of a maximum deal for Mark Scheifele yesterday on The Hockey Show with both Beans and I believing that it would be a maximum deal somewhere in the range of $6 million annually. Today, we found out that Beans and I have a pretty good pulse on the Jets' salary cap management because the Jets announced that they had signed the 23 year-old centerman to an eight-year, $49 million deal with an annual cap hit of $6.125 million.

Personally, that's a pretty good deal for the top-line centerman in Winnipeg who certainly would have been coveted if he were to hit the open market. Instead, he'll be in the double-blue of the Winnipeg Jets until he's 31 or until the Jets decide to move him. He does have a ten-team no-trade clause written into the deal that takes effect in the contract year that he becomes eligible for free agency.

If he's in Winnipeg until the end of the deal and the salary cap continues to climb, this could be a steal at the annual cap hit. Only time will tell, but the best young player on the Jets roster is now locked up long-term to help solidify the team.

Deep Down The Middle

The Colorado Avalanche strengthened their lineup by bringing back an important asset. The club announced today that they had re-signed restricted free agent Nathan MacKinnon to a seven-year, $44.1-million contract that works out to an annual $6.3 million cap hit. The 2014 Calder Trophy winner will now be in an Avalanche uniform until he's 27 with this deal.

"Signing Nathan to a long-term contract was a priority this offseason," Avalanche General Manager Joe Sakic stated in a press release. "He is going to be a key part of our team for many years to come and it was important to secure his rights moving forward."

MacKinnon is now the highest-paid Avalanche player, some $300,000 richer than both Matt Duchene and Erik Johnson. The Avalanche, like the Jets, have a few more restricted free agents to sign including Tyson Barrie, but getting a star like MacKinnon under contract long-term is very good for the club.

Where Money Grows On Trees

I have to admit that SKA St. Petersburg is a pretty impressive club with the likes of Ilya Kovalchuk, Anton Belov, Pavel Buchnevich, Joakim Lindstrom, Steve Moses, Alexei Ponikarovsky, and Slava Voynov already on the roster. Kovalchuk toyed with the idea of moving to the Chinese Kunlun team, but I'm thinking he will want to play put the final year of his contract with St. Petersburg.

SKA St. Petersburg announced today that they had officially signed former Red Wing Pavel Datsyuk to a two-year deal worth a reported $7.6 million. Sorry, Arizona Coyotes fans. Officially, we can close the book on the Magic Man's NHL career. Perhaps Datsyuk can somehow breathe life back into Kovalchuk's career after the horrendous campaign he played through last season. That will take real magic!

To The Streets!

While it may be hard to decipher who the lady is to the right, that's Calgary Inferno defenceman Meaghan Mikkelson atop that horse as she marches along in the Calgary Stampede parade! It's that time of year again in Cowtown, and the Flames and Inferno joined the parade to help usher in the event. The Inferno didn't miss a beat in bringing their major prize with them as they marched with the CWHL's Clarkson Cup while waving to fans!

From the looks of things on the Inferno's Twitter page, it appeared that the majority of the team was out for the parade. The Calgary Flames had Micheal Ferland, Brian Burke, and Matt Stajan down at the parade as well as the Calgary professional hockey community welcomed the annual event! It should also be noted that members of the WHL Calgary Hitmen were also in the parade, so it was a solid effort from everyone associated with Calgary hockey!

Back To California

As the Toronto Maple Leafs wound last season down, you got the feeling that Jonathan Bernier's days with the club were numbered. It would have taken a Herculean effort to have gotten the Leafs anywhere near a playoff spot, but that would have cost them Auston Matthews. In other words, Bernier was stuck between a rock and a hard place because he was damned if he did and damned if he didn't.

For the 2016-17 season, though, he's most likely going to see the playoffs as the Maple Leafs shipped him off to the Anaheim Ducks for a conditional 2017 draft pick. In other words, not much with an asterisk.

The Leafs literally tossed Bernier to the Ducks to complete the trade for Andersen - that's the asterisk. Because he was due a bonus on July 1, the deal to include Bernier was made after the payment was made to save the Ducks some cap room for the upcoming season. More importantly, though, it eases cap space for the Leafs who were headed towards cap purgatory with Bernier's contract still on the books.

The NHL is an accountant's nightmare in the summer, but two teams got it right by making the Andersen-Bernier trade a two-part deal. The Ducks get Bernier at $2.15 million instead of the cost of Andersen's deal, and the Leafs open up $3.55 million in estimated cap space by moving Bernier.

In the end, everyone is in a better place than they were prior to the deal.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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