With the off-season now in full-swing, I’m predicting the Ottawa Senators’ free agent forward contracts. Of course, these include star rookies Mike Hoffman and Mark Stone as well as centers Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Mika Zibanejad, two playes who found their feet this season.
Hoffman and Stone, along with those two are due for considerable raises, either short-term or long term this off-season.
Erik Condra: Given Condra’s late season play, many Sens fans would love to see him back. He was a key to Ottawa’s 3rd line and not one of Ottawa’s problem players. Many would rather see Ottawa move out the contracts of players like David Legwand, Zack Smith, and Colin Greening well before Condra leaves as a FA, but that might be the only option for a team with depth at forward.
Prediction: Signs as a UFA elsewhere, 2-3 years, 2.0-2.5 million AAV
Derek Grant: A player who has shown he can play as a 4th liner, but may be stuck in the AHL given the Senators’ depth. He could remain the system as a callup player as he isn’t proven but would require waivers and a new contract as a UFA.
Prediction: Stays in Ottawa, league minimum. Small raise over AHL deal. 700,000/90,000?
Carter Camper: A player who had success in Binghamton but may never see time in a Senators’ jersey. I see no reason why the Senators don’t look to bring him back. Expect a contract similar to Grants.
Apr 17, 2015; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Ottawa Senators forward Mark Stone (61) takes a shot during the warmup period in game two of the first round of the the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
Prediction: Stays in Bingo, league minimum. Small raise over AHL deal. 700,000/90,000?
Mika Zibanejad: Ottawa should push hard to sign the young center to a long term deal or valuable bridge contract. Zibanejad proved a lot this year, including that he could be a legitimate number two center in the NHL.
Long Term Option: 6 years, 4.5 million
Short Term Option: 2 years, 2.9 million
Mark Stone: Much like Zibanejad, Ottawa should push hard to sign Stone to a long-term deal. Yet at 22 a bridge contract also makes sense. Stone had an incredible year, and it wouldn’t take a gamble to sign Stone to a long-term contract.
Long Term Option: 7 years, 5.5 million
Bridge Term Option: 3 years, 3.3 million
Mike Hoffman: At 25-years-old, Hoffman is close to becoming a UFA. He holds his RFA status with a one-year deal, but loses it at anything greater than a 2-year deal. It’s either a 1-year “try-again” contract based on his late play or rolling the dice to save some money and buy some UFA years on a long-term contract.
Long Term Option: 4 years, 4.25 million
Short Term Option: 1 year, 2.5 million
Alex Chiasson: It was a disappointing year to say the least. Chiasson won’t be a top 6 player in the NHL and doesn’t require predicting a long-term deal. I think Ottawa looks to deal him in the summer, or sign him to a short one or two year deal to give him another shot while maintaining his RFA status.
Prediction: 1-2 years, $1.7 million
Jean-Gabriel Pageau: Pageau is an incredible depth forward. Senators fans love the energy he brings to every game and he has earned himself a one-way contract through his play. Look for Ottawa to lock him up for a few seasons while maintaining his RFA status come his next contract.
Prediction: 2-3 years, $2.2 million
Shane Prince: The former second rounder of the Senators is very close to breaking into the league… finally. Prince will likely take another one-year deal to hold his status as an RFA while again leading an AHL team and hoping to graduate as early as 2016-17.
Prediction: 2-way, 1 year contract, $900,000/$90,000
Garret Thompson is due for a new deal and didn’t show much after his contract signing last season. Perhaps the organization cuts ties with him or brings him back on a cheap deal to provide depth for Binghamton.
Darren Kramer, a fist-thrower is also up and remained in a small role with Binghamton. Much like Thompson, there is a chance Ottawa looks to bring him back but this one could go either way.
Jakub Culek, a former 3rd rounder has already cut ties with the organization as he left for the Czech Republic back in November. Once an intriguing prospect, now gone from the organization.
There we go, there’s my predictions for how the contracts could go. With Stone, Zibanejad, Hoffman, and Pageau obviously generating the most buzz this off-season it will be interesting to see how the organization decides to re-sign these 4, along with others.
Erik Condra remains the teams only pending UFA, which is nice as the organization no longer has questions like Marc Methot, Bobby Ryan and even Jason Spezza floating overhead. That stability is nice for Senators’ fans as it is bound to be an eventful off-season.