These are the days that try a hockey writers souls. Some days there is absolutely nothing going on in the league to write about, causing your favorite hockey writer to scour the depths of their mind to bring to their readers. And then there is a day like today, a writer’s open net, if you will.
Today, the Chicago Blackhawks re-signed LW and all-around handsome man (it’s a Twitter thing) Patrick Sharp to a reported five year, $29.5 million extension, keeping together an impressive group of forwards for the foreseeable future. The signing puts the very early kaibosh on the inevitable trade rumors that would have followed Sharp for most of next season.
Those who railed on former GM Dale Tallon for signing Brian Campbell to his huge contract when he was in Chicago should send him a bottle of bubbly tonight. Without Campbell and his $7.1 million cap hit being traded to the Florida Panthers on draft night, there’s not much of a chance that this deal gets done without sacrificing another player. On second thought, he sent Chicago back Rusty Olesz so I guess they can just call it even.
This is a huge win for Chicago, and not just the ladies. It ensures that a powerful group of top six forwards stays together for the next few seasons, making sure that Chicago is going to be in the championship mix during that time. Scarier yet for next season, the Hawks still have about $3 million in cap space for the upcoming season should they feel the need to make a move to add a missing piece. I can hear Rat Trick Senior Editor Frank Rekas smiling as he reads this.
The other big news of the day was the announcement that Nashville Predators D-Man Shea Weber and his playoff beard won their arbitration case to the tune of $7.5 million for next season, the largest amount prize ever awarded by a NHL arbitrator to a player. The award leaves Weber a restricted free agent next summer, at the same time that fellow defenseman Ryan Suter and G Pekka Rinne become unrestricted free agents (and in the process, giving hockey writers PLENTY to write about next summer). The Predators are a team that normally keeps their payroll closer to the floor than the ceiling, so the task of signing three vital players who could command big salaries in the open market seems daunting. Although, I expect Nashville to end up in the Southeast Division after realignment after this season, so maybe these guys going elsewhere isn’t such a bad idea.
The two sides couldn’t have been further apart coming into arbitration as the Preds asked for (the laughable amount, if you ask me) $4.5 million while Weber’s camp reportedly asked for $8.5 million. Based on those numbers, it’s not surprising that the arbitrator came out closer to the request of a Norris Trophy finalist. I can’t even begin to imagine the arguments Nashville used to try to justify their end of the case.
The loud ruckus coming from the west about 20 seconds after the news leaked out was Los Angeles Kings GM Dean Lombardi trashing his office as he now gets a better idea of what he’ll have to pay his franchise defenseman Drew Doughty. Hey, at least that is one more thing to write about!
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Tags: Brian Campbell Chicago Blackhawks Dale Tallon Dean Lombardi Drew Doughty Florida Panthers Los Angeles Kings Nashville Predators Patrick Sharp Pekka Rinne Ryan Suter Shea Weber Shea Weber's Beard Shea Weber's Playoff Beard