The Los Angeles Kings have come to an agreement with another one of their restricted free agents, signing Kevin Gravel to a one-year two-way contract worth $650K. Interestingly, Gravel had elected arbitration and was scheduled for a hearing on August 2nd, but instead took the league minimum on a one-year deal. The team did not release the guaranteed or AHL salary, likely part of why he settled.
Gravel played 49 games for the Kings last season in his first extended look with the team, registering seven points in just over 14 minutes a night. With the departure of Brayden McNabb to the Vegas Golden Knights, Gravel will likely be asked to play a bigger role and could even find himself in a full-time gig. He is still waivers exempt however, giving the team options if they think someone else is a better option on the bottom pairing.
- The New York Islanders have signed goaltender Christopher Gibson to a one-year two-way deal, bringing him back to battle with new acquisition Kristers Gudlevskis for an AHL role. In just seven games last season Gibson recorded a .912 save percentage but hasn’t been able to show the potential that made him a second-round pick in 2011. Just 24 he’s still developing as a netminder, but will have to make big strides soon if he wants to make an impact at the NHL level.
- The Chicago Blackhawks have re-signed Erik Gustafsson to a one-year deal, a contract that will send him to unrestricted free agency next summer should he not get into 39 games in the NHL this year. After playing 41 contests in 2015-16 with the Blackhawks and recording a solid 14 points, Gustafsson spent the entire season in the AHL in 2016-17. While he again showed off his offensive upside while there, scoring 30 points in 68 games, it was a disappointing year for him to not make it back to the NHL. Now with Niklas Hjalmarsson in Arizona and Brian Campbell still unsigned, there could be an opportunity for him to step up and fill a full-time role. With depth options like Michal Rozsival not being an ideal option on a full-time basis, the Blackhawks could look to newcomer Jan Rutta along with Gustafsson and Ville Pokka as potential options.