Two years ago, the Senators thought they were buying low on the prime years of Colin White’s career when they handed him a six-year, $28.5MM contract. That hasn’t panned out particularly well so far but even so, Ian Mendes of The Athletic suggests (subscription link) that Ottawa could look to go down that road again, this time with winger Drake Batherson. The restricted free agent had a 17-goal, 17-assist performance last season and is someone that they project as a future 20-goal player. Locking him up now at a bit of a discount – he has just 99 career NHL games played which limits his negotiating leverage – could come in handy down the road as some of their upcoming top youngsters move off their entry-level deals into pricier second contracts. That type of long-term cap planning will be needed for the Sens to keep as much of their future core together as possible.
Elsewhere in the Atlantic:
- Still with Ottawa, Michael Del Zotto’s two-year, $4MM contract with the Senators may have come as a surprise considering he had to earn a deal last season through the PTO route but the veteran told Postmedia’s Bruce Garrioch that there were four or five other offers on the table. The 31-year-old blueliner had 13 points in 53 games last season but is a bit of a curious fit in Ottawa with the acquisition of Nick Holden and the presence of young blueliners Erik Brannstrom and Victor Mete who are lefties like Del Zotto. Clearly, GM Pierre Dorion believes there’s a fit and with that many teams showing interest which certainly would have bolstered his market, Del Zotto got a bigger deal than expected.
- The Sabres have been quiet in free agency so far with the biggest contract handed out being a one-year, $1.05MM deal for winger Vinnie Hinostroza. The 27-year-old told Lance Lysowski of The Buffalo News that his history with Buffalo head coach Don Granato played a big role in his decision to sign there. Hinostroza had 25 points in 50 games with Chicago back in 2017-18 when Granato was an assistant coach before being moved in the 2018 summer to Arizona. He finished up on a high note last year after rejoining Chicago, notching a dozen points in 17 games.