Only two players that were arbitration eligible filed: Saros and Fabbro.
This afternoon, the Preds announced that they reached a 2-year deal with Fabbro
at $4.8million with a AAV of $2.4.
I do not mind this deal as it does not bury the Preds in anything unreasonable and establishes a nice bridge for Fabbro to demonstrate that he is (or prove to use that he is not) who we hoped he'd be upon trading Subban. Fabbro was one of the first players that Poile implemented fairly quickly without the traditional Preds to Milwaukee development journey. Most players at his age would have had considerable time to develop in the AHL before being thrown to the wolves with high expectations. Even the franchise greats of Weber, Suter, Josi, etc. spent considerable time in the Admirals' blue. These two years are critical not just for Fabbro, but also for the Preds in demonstrating they are in that competitive rebuild window. He has impeccable hockey sense, so although the jury is still out, I remain all in. You can teach crossovers, but you can't teach sense.
As for Saros, I still do not believe that this will ultimately reach arbitration, as the hearing is set for August 18. But I believe that management is playing a bit of hardball and I hope that they continue to do so and do not budge on their number just because. I'd rather see an arbiter reach a type of algorithmic decision and let the two sides play chicken in the development of a new contract in the future. Competition is lovely and with Askarov and Ingram in the pipeline, there's nothing better than a keep one eye open mentality. In order to avoid arbitration, if I were Preds management, I would go for something along the lines of $4.5x3. If Saros' camp is smart, which I have no doubts that they are, they would ride Saros' numbers from this last year as far as it'll take them. The good thing about arbitration, if it comes to the banging of the gavel on August 18, from a team's perspective is that comparable are not permitted to determine appropriate contracts. This is only done in negotiations between the team and player. But one season in a bizarre and shortened schedule doesn't make a goalie. I'd maybe consider $5x3 but nothing more. And I wouldn't budge from the 3 year range. I need more proof before paying out. This number value is enough pay raise to demonstrate appreciation for what he's done and his development and belief going forward, but also maintains enough competitive incentive to prevent the big payday hangover the following season. On a cost-benefit scale, I currently find the risk of losing him in 3 years due to stellar performance and a much due pay raise is outweighed by the need to be smart financially and banking on a somewhat semi-unknown in the first year absent a leader like Pekka. It's Saros' net now, so he needs to go take it. Not be paid for something that has become his by somewhat of a default. And yes, before you attack me for saying he hasn't earned it, he has become the default number 1 under Hynes but it wasn't always because he "earned" it. But rather it was Pekka's 16th and 17th seasons in a faster and faster league. They say adversity introduces a man to himself. So let's see how young Juuse handles himself under a bit of pressure after a strong season.
We shall see what's to come and when the final numbers for a complete roster come out in addition to the contract for Tolvanen, we can then begin to breakdown the current team, projections going forward, and even have some fun with plugging the young guns into a NHL roster.
Also, food for thought. UFAs are drying up with Tatar signing in Jersey this morning.
Ryan Donato anyone? A 25 year-old forward, American developed. A somewhat unknown having been bounced around in the management shuffle in Minnesota to then end up in San Jose's odd situation. He was part of the package that brought Charile Coyle to Boston a few years back. In Boston, I found him an energized, strong player to watch. I think some stability could bring him some good. 2 years at $1m sounds intriguing. To fit my prior thesis, buy in is needed, so let's ramp up the competition for spots. Remember, the right players not the best players. The right players are the best players. I'm a fan of looking in his direction.
What do you all think? Potential UFAs that catch your attention? Any trades that you have up your sleeve?