With some top college teams getting eliminated, the activity on the NCAA free agent market should pick up shortly. In the meantime, there were some other newsworthy events in the NHL over the past seven days.
Ladd Out Long-Term: Andrew Ladd’s tough season came to a premature conclusion as the Islanders winger will miss the next four-to-five months with a torn ACL. He now has had significant injuries to both knees which certainly won’t help his mobility moving forward. Ladd played in just 26 games this season, picking up just three goals and eight assists. That’s hardly the return they were expecting on his $5.5MM contract, one that carries four more years after this one.
Cooper To Stay With Tampa: It took a while but the Lightning and head coach Jon Cooper were able to agree on a multi-year contract extension, ensuring he’ll be sticking around in Tampa Bay for a while yet. He has been quite successful over his first six years with the team, compiling a 302-158-44 record with a win percentage that is only bested by legend Scotty Bowman. The Lightning have been the class of the league by a considerable margin this season which should have Cooper in the mix for the Jack Adams Award for Coach of the Year.
Coyotes Lock Up Schmaltz: Arizona made a notable trade early in the season that saw them bring in center Nick Schmaltz from Chicago. Clearly, they liked what they saw from him before suffering a season-ending lower-body injury in late December as they signed the 23-year-old to a seven-year, $40.95MM contract extension. At the time of the deal, GM John Chayka believed that Schmaltz could be a long-term top-six center for them and he was certainly heading in that direction with 14 points in 17 games with the team before the injury. Arizona has very quickly reshaped their group down the middle and they have committed to spending at that position as their top three pivots (Derek Stepan, Schmaltz, and Christian Dvorak) will cost a combined $16.8MM next year, more than double their combined cost this season ($8.26MM).
Flyers Re-Sign Raffl: Philadelphia winger Michael Raffl had some trade interest at the deadline so it was a little bit of a surprise that he wasn’t dealt. That decision is more understandable now after he agreed to a two-year, $3.2MM extension. The deal actually represents a bit of a decrease on his current $2.35MM AAV but considering that Raffl has spent a lot of time this season on the fourth line, it’s not too surprising. The Flyers are the only NHL organization that the 30-year-old has played for and he has suited up for more than 400 games over his six seasons with the team.
Masterton Nominees Announced: The first finalists for an offseason award have been revealed as each team submitted their nominee for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy. The award goes to a player who is judged to exemplify perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. Predators center Brian Boyle won the award last season. The field will be whittled down to the usual three finalists in advance of the NHL Awards show in June.