The Calgary Flames have been extremely active this offseason after last year’s second-half collapse. The team went out and traded defenseman Dougie Hamilton for a pair of younger talents in Noah Hanifin and Elias Lindholm. They also added center depth with the addition of Derek Ryan. However, the key addition was the signing of veteran goal scorer James Neal.
The Athletic’s Kent Wilson (subscription required) looks into the five-year contract that Neal received, which was worth $28.75MM. At 31 years old, the Flames are taking a big risk that the deal will eventually drag the team’s salary cap situation down when he no longer is productive. However, with the Vegas Golden Knights as well as other teams moving up the Pacific Division race, Calgary feels that a goal scorer who has tallied at least 20 goals for the past 10 seasons is worth the risk as well as the fact that Neal has a history of making the players around him better.
- Eric Stephens of The Athletic reports that Anaheim Ducks general manager Bob Murray told season ticket holders today that he is flying to Toronto for defenseman Brandon Montour’s arbitration hearing, which is scheduled for Tuesday. However, Murray said he is interested in locking up his 24-year-old blueliner to a bridge deal before that, if possible. The two sides gave up on a long-term extension and are hoping to come to an agreement before the hearing. Montour is an interesting case as he has only played for one and a half seasons for Anaheim, but already has arbitration rights, which makes this a more challenging deal to get completed.
- The Los Angeles Kings will be in desperate need for blueline depth this season and they have high hopes in Minnesota State University-Mankato star Daniel Brickley. The Athletic’s Josh Cooper (subscription required) writes that the 23-year-old defenseman has taken an unusual route to get to the NHL, but might be heavily needed this coming year with no veterans signed for depth purposes. He signed with the Kings in March and with his size (6-foot-3, 203 pounds) and abilities (95 mph shot), he has a good chance to make the team, which is quite possible as the team is known for taking talent and inserting it into their lineup immediately. Last season, the Kings placed forward Alex Iafallo on the first line for a large chunk of the season.
- Ken Boehlke of the SinBin writes that enforcer Ryan Reaves, who procured a two-year, $5.55MM deal, played a great game of poker with the Vegas Golden Knights this offseason when the team gave him three years of money, but with only a two-year term. While the deal gives Vegas more flexibility with just a two-year term and the fact that they have extra money after not acquiring Erik Karlsson and Bobby Ryan in a big offseason trade, the move doesn’t look so bad, but Reaves made the most out of his situation. He was evidently offered a one or two year deal after the season, but Reaves believed he could garner a three or four year deal. A team offered the 6-foot-1, 225-pounder a three year deal and Vegas general manager George McPhee offered equal value, but refused to go past two years, eventually adding the third year in money, but not in term. Regardless, it was a well-played hand by Reaves.