Calvin Pickard Leads List Of RFA Signings
Calvin Pickard was arguably the biggest name among four restricted free agent goaltenders who signed new contracts on Tuesday, with the 24-year-old inking a two-year, $2 million deal to stay in Colorado until 2018.
Selected 49th overall at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Pickard has featured in 36 games for the Avalanche over the past two seasons, going 13-13-4 with a .927 save percentage. He is now set to backup Semyon Varlamov on a more permanent basis following the departure of Reto Berra earlier this summer.
Pickard, who some have tipped to become the Avs starter one day, was also a member of the Team Canada squad that won gold at the 2016 IIHF World Championship in Russia, allowing just one goal in his two appearances.
Divisional rivals Minnesota also solidified their backup position, bringing Darcy Kuemper back for another season.
The one-year, $1.55 million deal extends Kuemper’s time with the club in to a fifth season, having originally been drafted by the Wild in 2009 (sixth round, 161st overall).
The 26-year-old has assembled an NHL career record of 33-29-11 with a .912 save percentage, but played in just 21 games last season. With Steve Michalek and Brody Hoffman in the Wild system, 2016/17 may prove to be a make or break year for Kuemper in Minnesota.
Jean-Francois Berube and the New York Islanders also reached an agreement on a new one-year deal, worth $675,000.
Quebec native Berube was claimed off waivers by the Islanders in October and made seven appearances for the club last season. He seemed to impress the clubs management with his efforts during the campaign, though the organisation’s decision to run with three goaltenders remains somewhat controversial.
Number one Jaroslav Halak publicly aired his unhappiness at the three-man system in May, but with Thomas Greiss under contract for another year and Berube set to return, little appears to have been done to calm the waters.
The situation for the Islanders, and Wild, is likely to be further complicated in twelve months time when each NHL team will be expected to expose a goaltender who is either contracted through 2017/18 or a qualified RFA for the upcoming expansion draft.
As things stand, Minnesota who would only have Devan Dubnyk eligible to be exposed while the Islanders would need to expose Halak or qualify Berube again before exposing him.
Colorado on the other hand would have both Varlamov and Pickard under contract, so will at least have the option to protect one of their first choice pairing.
In other moves made on Tuesday, Detroit signed prospect Jared Coreau to a new two-year deal.
The first year of the contract is a two way deal worth $575,000, while the second year changes to a one way deal with a dollar value of $650,000.
Anthony Brodeur, 21-year-old son of Marty, may also be about to have another crack at the NHL.
The former New Jersey Devils draft pick, who was ‘selected’ by his father but never signed to an entry level deal with the club, is currently attending the Maple Leafs development camp in Niagra Falls.
Whether the link up with former Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello pans out remains to be seen. Toronto already has four goaltenders under contract – Frederik Andersen, Jonathan Bernier, Antoine Bibeau and Kasimir Kaskisuo – while Garret Sparks remains a restricted free agent, but the 21-year-old told Jonas Siegel of the Canadian Press: “I’m going to take a tryout from an NHL team any day”