The NHL doesn't have a lot going on right now that isn't related to the CBA negotiations of the impending lockout. The meager free agent pickings have been reduced to virtually non-existent, the playoffs are a black-and-white relic of the past. So what are hockey bloggers left to do? While instead of weighing in with my opinion on the BOG vs NHLPA clash, I'll write what I think of recent re-signings of NHL players.
Taylor Hall: 7 years/$42 million
I think it's smart that Edmonton is locking up their young assets before their play (and market value) reaches full potential. Hall is still developpping as an NHL player and will likely fill out into a 35-40 goal guy. If he does, that's a good cap hit for the Oilers. However, I do have a slight issue with this contract, and that's the term. Hall worries me a little. His style of play is very reckless and as a result he's missed 36 games over his first two seasons with a combination of injuries. Whether that's a result of bad luck or a possible red flag remains to be seen. $6 million over 7 years can seem pretty big if Hall only ends up playing 60 games a season. Until that happens though, I'll say the contract is good and benefits both sides.
Mike Fisher: 2 years/$8.4 million
I think this deal is a very David Poile-type deal. He gives one of his better forwards a reasonable cap hit for a term that won't present any troubles for the Predators. Fisher has proven that he deserves from $4-4.5 mil thanks to his consistent offensive output at roughly 50 points per season, even going back to his days in Ottawa. Fisher is an important part of Nashville's offense (3rd in points last season) and thanks to this smart signing, he will be for at least two more seasons.
Scott Hartnell: 6 years/$28.5 million
#HartnellDown is staying put in Philly for a little while. Scott Hartnell is very good at what he does. He's a cross between a power forward and an agitator, with the benefits of both playing styles. His playing style perfectly embodies the in-your-face style of hockey that Philadelphia trademarked. Hartnell came out of nowhere last year to score 37 goals, tied for 6th in the league and better than numerous snipers including Jason Spezza, Patrick Sharp and Zach Parise. Hartnell, as a UFA, would have garnered interest from all 29 other teams and likely could have gotten a contract similar to Taylor Hall. For a player with that kind of market value, $4.75 mil per season is very good.
Max Pacioretty: 6 years/$27 million
Pacioretty capped off a fantastic season that featured 33 goals and a Bill Masterson trophy with a big contract that will pay him $4.5 mil per season starting in 2013-2014. This is another move that increases the confidence Habs fans have in Marc Bergevin, as the proactive approach to signing key players was something not seen in the Gainey/Gauthier eras. If Pacioretty continues his upward swing and rounds into a 40-goal guy, the contract will be a steal. Even if he caps at numbers similar to this past season (30-35 goals and 30-35 assists, say) it's market value. For that reason, I really like this signing.
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