The free agent market is down to the last few interesting names. While Rick Nash continues to deliberate on whether he’ll play this season, other players are starting to accept professional tryout offers to attempt to secure an NHL contract in 2018-19. Scottie Upshall, Mark Letestu, Emerson Etem, and others will be in NHL training camps trying to prove they have something left to offer at the highest level, while many other familiar names sit at home waiting for a call.
In the NHL, multi-year contracts given out to players over the age of 35 come with some added risk. If that player decides to retire at any point, the full average annual value is still applied to his team’s salary cap and he becomes a burden on the books. That only really affects teams that give out expensive deals to aging players though, and one-year contracts for those veterans can actually be quite beneficial to both sides. One-year contracts signed by players over 35 are eligible to include performance bonuses, something that cannot be given to most other players during their NHL careers. We’ve seen plenty of these contracts handed out in the past, and they can be a perfect blend of low risk for the club and high reward for the player.
Among the group that could still receive contracts like this are several very interesting names. Mike Cammalleri isn’t the same offensive player he once was, but still recorded 29 points in 65 games last season and likely could be had for near the minimum salary. He signed a one-year $1MM deal last season with the Los Angeles Kings, which included an additional $200K in bonuses. Scott Hartnell can’t bounce between first and third lines like he used to be able to, but he did find his way into 62 games with the President’s Trophy-winning Nashville Predators last season. Hartnell had 13 goals and 24 points in those games, and is still earning a solid paycheck from his buyout last summer.
Other names that could be considered include Antoine Vermette, Jussi Jokinen, Dominic Moore and Jason Chimera, all of whom have been big contributors in the past and played at least 50 games in 2017-18. So the question is who would you most like your team to sign? If you could get one of these players for the league minimum of $650K with some added performance bonus, who would it be? Cast your vote below and make sure to explain why in the comment section.
[Mobile users click here to vote!]