The Ottawa Senators have signed one of their restricted free agents, inking Nick Paul to a one-year two-way contract worth $650K at the NHL level. Paul was not eligible to file for salary arbitration, and will be an RFA at the conclusion of the deal.
Paul, 23, only played 11 games for Ottawa last season, instead spending most of the year with the Belleville Senators of the AHL. The 6’4″ forward is an excellent offensive contributor at the minor league level, but can’t seem to carve out a full-time role in the NHL. There may be more opportunity this season with players like Mike Hoffman and Alexandre Burrows not around, but Paul will have to show that he can contribute in various ways to really make an impact.
Originally selected in the fourth round by the Dallas Stars, Paul has just 36 NHL games under his career to this point. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him add to that total this year, but he doesn’t look like a key part of the turnaround in Ottawa. The Senators are expected to struggle on the ice even if they keep captain Erik Karlsson around, and are looking to add more young talent into the pipeline. Even with his relative youth, Paul doesn’t possess the type of high-end skill that is needed for Ottawa to really get back to contending.