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Senators lock up Jake Sanderson, Armstrong sticks as GM in Arizona, and more: Around the League
5 months ago
Welcome back to Around the League — the column here at CanucksArmy where we deliver you news and notes from around the National Hockey League, oftentimes through a Vancouver Canucks-tinted lens!
For three seasons beginning in 2024-25, Jake Sanderson will have a higher cap hit than Quinn Hughes. Let’s start there, with the big news of the evening coming out of Ottawa!
Sens extend Sanderson long term
If you hadn’t already, now you have! The Ottawa Senators have signed defenceman Jake Sanderson to an eight-year contract extension worth $64.4 million. That’s an annual average value of $8.05 million beginning in the 2024-25 season. The Sens announced the signing late Wednesday night.
The fifth overall pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, Sanderson made his NHL debut this past season, appearing in 77 games with the Senators while tallying four goals and 28 assists.
“Jake’s transition to the pro game has been flawless,” Senators general manager Pierre Dorion said. “An effortless skater who holds himself to a high standard, he has the talent to be one of the best all-around defencemen in the NHL for years to come.”
Ottawa is continuing a growing trend around the NHL of teams locking up their star players while they’re young. Perhaps the most interesting thing about the Sanderson deal is that the two sides were comfortable agreeing to the deal without much certainty of what the NHL salary cap will look like beyond this season. Teams are operating under the impression that the salary cap upper limit will jump up somewhat considerably next summer as the players’ debt to the owners is set to be paid off very early into the 2023-24 season.
Nobody knows how much that jump will be, and few would be surprised if the jump isn’t as significant as the NHL has made it out to be. Nonetheless, the two sides felt comfortable making this deal, and Sanderson could be one of the most underpaid defencemen in the league for years to come depending on what happens to the cap.
Sanderson finished sixth in Calder Trophy voting this past season.
Bill Armstrong signs extension with Coyotes
Bill Armstrong has signed an extension to remain the general manager of the Arizona Coyotes. The club did not disclose the details of the contract, including the number of years the extension covers.
“For the past three years, Bill has done an excellent job restructuring our hockey operations department and rebuilding our hockey team,” Coyotes owner, chairman and governor Alex Meruelo said in a statement. “He has acquired elite talent through the draft, trades, and free agency, and has established a winning culture by adding a great coaching staff and other key hockey operations personnel. I am confident that under his leadership, the Coyotes will soon become a perennial playoff team and we will continue to work towards our goal of bringing a Stanley Cup to the Valley.”
After working in the St. Louis Blues’ front office — first as part of the scouting department from 2004-18, then as an assistant GM from 2018-2020 season — Armstrong became Arizona’s GM in 2020-21. The Coyotes have not qualified for the playoffs under Armstrong’s watch, but have amassed some interesting names through the draft. The club managed to sign 2022 third overall pick Logan Cooley to an entry-level contract this offseason, and many expect him to provide an immediate boost to the Coyotes’ top six.
Morgan Frost signs two-year deal in Philadelphia
Sometimes, holding out for a contract works!
Frost was one of the final restricted free agents to secure a deal for the upcoming season, but today, he and the Flyers agreed to terms on a two-year contract with a cap hit of $2.1 million.
A playmaker by trade, Frost tallied 19 goals and 27 assists for a total of 46 points in 81 games for the Flyers in 2022-23. Despite his point total being somewhat respectable, it was up and down season for Frost in Philadelphia, with head coach John Tortorella making his displeasure with the player’s performance public on multiple occasions.
Unlike Sanderson in Ottawa, it really only made sense for Frost to pursue a bridge deal, as contract values will presumably increase along with the salary cap. As a result, the 24-year-old centre may potentially cash in on a higher salary down the line once this contract expires.
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