While many undrafted college players have already signed in the last couple of weeks, only a handful of top collegiate players have inked new deals. One of the reasons is due to questions surrounding whether players could sign contracts for this year, since it the rest of the season remains in limbo. However, with the recent signing of defenseman Scott Perunovich with the St. Louis Blues to two different contracts, that could open up a flood of players who are ready to sign contacts, according to Scott Powers of The Athletic (subscription required).
Perunovich agreed to two contracts Friday, one that would start this year (assuming the season continues), while the other would start in the 2019-20 season, although both contracts would be two-year deals. The scribe notes that St. Louis had to get NHL approval of the two contracts, which now could open up possibilities for several college players, including Chicago Blackhawks’ Ian Mitchell, Vegas Golden Knights’ Jack Dugan and Winnipeg Jets’ Dylan Samberg.
Powers uses the example of Mitchell, who wrapped up his junior season at the University of Denver and has to sign a three-year, entry-level contract due to his age. Mitchell would prefer to sign starting this season as it would immediately burn that first year.
“Right now we are waiting to see what happens with the NHL season,” the 21-year-old Mitchell wrote. “There is a freeze on contracts being signed for this season. If I were to sign a contract now, I wouldn’t be able to play this year if the season resumes. So right now it is just wait and see.”
Technically, Perunovich has not signed either contact, but will sign one of the two once it’s decided on whether the 2019-20 season will continue or not. That could be the case for any other college prospects who are eager to sign, but would prefer to sign for this year and not wait an extra year.
Mitchell continues to wait on whether there is a season this year, but is suddenly more open to signing soon after Perunovich’s deal.
“Yes, all options are on the table,” said Mitchell in a text when asked about signing a similar deal.
Powers believes that the contract itself has already been worked out, especially since Chicago has been willing to hand out “A” bonuses to their top prospects in the past and with Mitchell having the ability to threaten to return to Denver for his senior year, he is likely to get that, although it’s believed that he is leaning towards signing a pro contract.