The Anaheim Ducks have signed all three of their remaining restricted free agents. Eric Stephens of The Athletic reports that Max Comtois has signed a two-year deal for a total of $4.075MM, Max Jones has signed a three-year pact for a total of $3.885MM and Josh Mahura has signed a two-year deal worth $1.5MM total. Mahura’s contract will be two-way in 2021-22.
Selected in back-to-back drafts with the Ducks’ highest picks, Jones and Comtois represent two of the key players the team is hoping can lead them back to success.
The former was first, picked 24th overall in 2016, but hasn’t quite been able to reach his potential at the NHL level. Jones has just 28 points in 135 career games, mostly filling a depth role on the team. Now 23, he still isn’t used regularly on the powerplay or penalty kill, but did get a chance to skate next to captain Ryan Getzlaf for a good chunk of the season. While he has embraced a physical role on the team, getting more offense out of the former London Knight would be a huge boost for a Ducks team desperately looking for scoring threats.
In fact, Comtois actually led the team in scoring this season with 16 goals and 33 points, even if he was far from a dominant offensive player. The 22-year-old was picked 50th overall in 2017 but has proven himself already at the NHL level, scoring 51 points in 94 games. The 6’2″ winger saw some powerplay time this year but still wasn’t among the team leaders in ice time with the man-advantage, something that will likely change in the coming seasons. His $2.04MM cap hit will actually make him the fifth-highest paid forward on the team, checking in just ahead of Sonny Milano’s $1.7MM deal.
Even though Ducks fans might already be looking to Trevor Zegras to be the offensive leader on the team, Comtois and Jones are still important pieces that need to be developed carefully.
Mahura on the other hand seems to be stuck on the outside looking in once again. The 23-year-old was a third-round pick in 2016 and has experienced plenty of success in the minor leagues, but sits behind a long defensive depth chart in Anaheim. He has played 41 games in the NHL, recorded 13 points, but still probably isn’t ticketed for full-time action in 2021-22. His league-minimum contract suggests that as well, though there is something working in Mahura’s favor.
For the first time in his career, he’ll be eligible for waivers this season, meaning the Ducks would have to risk him to the rest of the league in order to send him to the minor leagues. That very well may keep him in the NHL as a seventh defender to start the year even if there are no injuries during training camp.