Smart NHL teams re-sign stars a year ahead of free agency – GazetteNET

When John Tavares’ contract ran out with the New York Islanders, he took the opportunity to talk with other teams.

“I felt like I owed it to myself to see what else was out there,” Tavares said.

Tavares’ exploration led him to rediscover his childhood affinity for the Maple Leafs, and his confidence in Toronto’s future led him to sign a monster $77 million, seven-year contract. The Islanders were left with nothing, a mistake other NHL franchises seem determined not to make.

Don’t wait. Sometimes not even a day.

On Sunday, when Tavares’ departure left a void on Long Island, the Sharks signed Logan Couture, Coyotes signed Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Kings signed Drew Doughty and Lightning signed Ryan McDonagh to long-term deals. None of them would have been free agents until July 1, 2019, and this was the first possible chance to ink extensions that begin more than a year from now.

It’s worth every penny to San Jose, Arizona, Los Angeles and Tampa Bay to get those contracts done now rather than risk a key player even exploring unrestricted free agency like Tavares did.

“If you wait too long and you get into the situation where they have the potential to walk or explore the UFA market, that can be challenging times,” Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said.

The Ottawa Senators are trapped in such challenging times. They made a contract offer to Norris Trophy-winning captain and 2019 free agent Erik Karlsson, but it’s not a great sign that the real negotiating is only just beginning.

“We’re not going there,” GM Pierre Dorion said. “We don’t really want to talk about roster players, contract negotiations, trades, all these things, but I think we owe it to our fans and we made a promise at the town hall that we would

Read More Here...

This entry was posted in Hockey News. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.