Earlier this season I put together an article talking about extensions and the possibility of what players were due new contracts. Let’s follow up with where things stand today.
Now that the hockey season is over, we can start the process of offseason thoughts. The question of which players are due what money and what players do we expect to see in an Anaheim Ducks jersey next season are looming.
The team has 20 players that are due contracts going into the 18/19 season. They have 12 players that will be UFAs (unrestricted free agents) and 18 RFAs (restricted free agents).
Restricted Free Agents
Restricted free agents are players that have played fewer than 7 years of accrued seasons and are younger than 27 as of June 30th at the end of the league year. For example, if a player is 26 years old and has been playing in the NHL since they were 18, they do NOT qualify for unrestricted free agency because they are not 27. They have to have both, not one or the other. If a player does not receive a qualifying offer from their current team, then their status will change from RFA to UFA.
An RFA can receive a qualifying offer, which is basically a one year contract. That contract is 110% of the previous season’s salary if the player makes under $660,000. If the player makes under $1,000,000 and over $660,000, then it is 105% of the previous season. If the player earned over $1,000,000. it would only be 100%.
Ondrej Kase —
Brandon Montour —
Calvin Pickard of Toronto Maple Leafs —
This season, Anaheim does not have players that are restricted free agents earning above $1,000,000.
If the player does NOT sign their qualifying offer, there are multiple options. If they are on their second contract (players coming off of entry level contracts do not apply here), that player and/or team can elect to go to salary arbitration where a neutral third party will hear salary requests from both the player and the team before ruling in favor of one or the other. Or, they can negotiate a new contract with the team.
Lastly, they can test the market and potentially sign an offer sheet from a new team. This doesn’t really happen (at least not anymore), but if a player signs an offer sheet with another team, depending on the salary that was agreed upon for the new club, they must offer draft pick compensation. The original team can either let the player walk to the new team, or they can match the offer sheet and pay the player under the new terms of the deal.
Unrestricted Free Agents
Unrestricted free agents are free to sign with any team in the NHL.
Players can sign a contract extension beginning July 1st of the previous year their contract expires. For example, Cam Fowler signed his contract extension July 1st 2017, even though his current contract didn’t expire until the end of the 2017/2018 season.
Update: Adam Henrique will be eligible to sign an extension July 1st, 2018 and word from Adam and the organization is that he will sign an extension when it’s due.
Unrestricted Free Agent Ducks Update:
Andrew Cogliano — Cogliano is in a contract year and has turned into an important player for Anaheim. His current contract was signed in the middle of the 2013-2014 season in January. The question: is he worth more than $3 million per year that he is currently being paid? Update: Extension signed.
Antoine Vermette — Vermette isn’t due much of a raise if any extension is even reached. Knowing Bob Murray and previous handouts he has given, I bet Vermette gets a 1-2 year deal at around 2 million per year if the Ducks decide to bring him back. Update: In my honest opinion, I don’t think Anaheim decides to bring back Vermette. Most likely signs with another team.
Jared Boll — I don’t believe Boll signs an extension and is done in Anaheim. This is what all fans have hoped for. He was obviously brought in to lay the hammer down, but he doesn’t help the team with point production and is often a healthy scratch. Update: Based on what I have seen from “Instagram” Boll had major off-season surgery. My guess is his career is done.
Derek Grant — This one is a complete coin flip. Grant reminds me of a Mike Santorelli type player and if is brought back shouldn’t receive much of a raise from what he is getting now. Update: Grant played the best hockey of his career. Would absolutely love is he was brought back on a Vermette type of contract, maybe slightly cheper.
Mike Liambas — Bob Murray likes to have grit/enforcer type of players in the lineup that don’t score any points. I bet he signs a similar deal to Boll, but hopefully this doesn’t happen. Update: More than likely is NOT brought back. He is a journeyman hockey player.
Kevin Bieksa — We all have been waiting for this day to come since 2015. I expect Kevin to retire. If he doesn’t, let’s hope it’s a similar deal to the one Francois Beauchemin currently has. I have no problem with Bieksa being a 7th defenseman/press box associate. Update: Based on the exit interview with Bieksa he is not happy with the organization and doesn’t want to sign an extension. Don’t worry Bieksa, feeling is mutual.
Francois Beauchemin — Beauchemin is currently in his retirement contract and is not expected to continue playing next season. Thank you Francois for all you have done for this organization. Update: Francois has repeated he is done with hockey.
Reto Berra — I wouldn’t mind bringing back Berra on a similar deal he has or like one that Dustin Tokarski received from us. He will be a solid AHL starter and a backup to the backup, Ryan Miller. Update: My guess is Berra may receive an extension based on his performance in the AHL.
Corey Tropp — Tropp is a career AHLer and I don’t expect him to sign a one way contract. He is 28 years old right now and I don’t think he signs a NHL contract with Anaheim next season. My guess is that he may get an AHL contract with San Diego next year. Update: Tropp just became the player with the most points for the Gulls organization. My guess he will get an AHL contract since there were no recalls for the NHL.
Chris Kelly — Kelly was signed after his play in the Olympics and didn’t really bring much to the team. Can’t imagine he gets another contract.
J.T. Brown — Brown was picked up off of waivers from the Tampa Bay Lightning. He is due for an extension and would be a great addition to the team if Bob Murray really wants “speed.” I believe he gets a 1 year extension.
Jason Chimera — Chimera was brought in with the trade for Chris Wagner. Chimera is currently 38, and will be 39 on May 2nd. If Bob Murray stays true to his word about going younger and adding speed then he won’t be bringing back Chimera.
Restricted Free Agents Update:
Brandon Montour — Montour has had a solid beginning of the year and probably forced the hand of Bob Murray to make that Sami Vatanen trade. The question at this point is if he deserves the Cam Fowler contract or the Sami Vatanen contract that was handed out after their entry level deals expired. Due to the fact that Montour had a similar path to Vatanen, he will get a similar deal. 2 year, $1.26 million per season. Update: I still stand strong on the previous feeling earlier in the season.
Kevin Roy — Roy has garnered a lot of attention since he was given big boy minutes and has been showing he has solid NHL potential. The Kevin Roy Fan Club train that I currently ride on doesn’t believe he is due a large contract. I expect him to get the same contract Chris Wagner had. 2 years at just above league minimum. Update: Roy played well when he came up to play a couple of games in the NHL. I still feel he will get an extension.
Nick Ritchie — Ritchie has upset a lot of us with his after-the-play antics and lack of scoring ability that he was expected to have. However, he is only 22 and is still learning to play at the NHL level. The good thing is that the Ducks may get a good deal on a cheap “prove it” contract until he decides to learn how to play at the level he was projected. Update: Based on a couple of guys here at Anaheim Calling they think he gets a 2 year 2 mil extension. My guess he gets 2 Yr 900k a year.
Ondrej Kase — Kase definitely deserves a raise here. He matched his goal totals from last year in 14 games this season compared to 53 games last season. The question is if he can stay healthy. My guess is he receives a $1 million raise over two years. Update: Kase scored 20 goals this season. Maybe gets a prove it contract since he only produced one season of 20 goals.
Kalle Kossila — When Carlyle gave him actual NHL players to play with he performed well, but knowing RC and Bob Murray they think he isn’t good because he can’t score with Mike Liambas on his wing and Korbinian Holzer on his other wing. Kossila should be re-signed. Update: Still feel confident about my early season predictions.
Andy Welinski — Welinski has been a solid top-pairing defenseman in the AHL. He has a good +/- rating and should be re-signed. The problem is that Anaheim has so many defenseman that he may get lost in translation. Update: Welinksi had an opportunity to show his skills in the NHL. He may get a small extension. He will definitely be fighting for a regular NHL spot next season.
Kevin Boyle — Easy re-sign. Anaheim doesn’t have any goalie depth in San Diego and could back up Gibson once Miller leaves, depending on how Olle Eriksson-Ek develops. Update: Still feel confident he will get an extension.
Scott Sabourin — Sabourin has never played an NHL game and will probably end up getting an AHL contract with the San Diego Gulls. Update: Still feel confident about early season thoughts.
Nicolas Kerdiles — This guy can’t catch a break. No pun intended. Kerdiles can’t stay healthy. I don’t expect Anaheim to re-sign him due to the nagging injuries. Update: My guess he signs a small NHL contract with Dallas and or Nashville. He has close ties with those areas.