Pickard Leads List Of RFA Signings
Calvin Pickard was arguably the biggest of the four restricted free agent goaltenders signed to 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 set to backup Semyon Varlamov next season following the departure of Reto Berra earlier this summer.
Pickard 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 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 a campaign in which the organisation ran with three goaltenders.
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.
With each NHL team expected to expose a goaltender who is either contracted through 2017/18 or a qualified RFA for next summers expansion draft, the signings are of particular note for Minnesota, who would have to expose starter Devan Dubnyk based on their current situation while the Islanders would need to expose Halak or qualify Berube again before exposing him.
Colorado would have both Varlamov and Pickard under contract.
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, is currently attending the Maple Leafs development camp in Niagra Falls and told Jonas Siegel of the Canadian Press: “I’m going to take a tryout from an NHL team any day”
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.