The big news of the day saw the Leafs lock up Auston Matthews to a five-year deal that will pay him 11.634 million per season. 93 percent of that is coming in the form of lockout-proof signing bonuses. With the cap projected to move to 83 million dollars next season, Matthews new cap hit will account for 14 percent of the total space available.
Here’s a look at some of the other big-time centres who have signed monster deals and their percentage-based hit against the cap.
Connor McDavid 12.5 million 16.67%
John Tavares 11 million 13.83%
Jonathan Toews 10.5 million 15.2%
Anze Kopitar 10 million 14%
Jack Eichel 10 million 13.3%
Evgeni Malkin 9.5 million 14.8%
Sidney Crosby 8.7 million 13.5%
Looking at those comparables, Matthews eating up 14 percent of the cap seems quite the reasonable – and it is. However, those other deals were for the max years available and bought up multiple UFA seasons. The Leafs only grabbed one year of UFA-eligibility from Matthews.
Crosby and Malkin both signed five-year deals coming out of their ELCs for 8.7 million per. They both represented 17.3 percent of the cap for their respective signing years. The Pens were able to extend them for 12 and eight more years after that at 8.7 and 9.5 million respectively – all of which were UFA seasons.
Going shorter term on Matthews saved the Leafs on the overall cap hit now, but it means they’ll be negotiating with a soon-to-be 26-year-old UFA when this contract concludes.
Those pinched pennies today will be stretched thin. With a projected cap of 83 million for 2019-20, the Leafs will have 16.3 million free with just 14 players under contract. That includes RFA deals needed for Mitch Marner, Kasperi Kapanen, and Andreas Johnsson.
I’m no mathematician (although I do teach high-school math to students who mostly despise it), but there’s a scenario here where those three RFA’s eat up nearly all of that cap space.
Something will have to give.
Malkin missed his third straight contest and the Penguins definitely missed him as the Hurricanes blanked them 4-0 on Tuesday evening. Curtis McElhinney made 23 saves for his first shutout of the season. It was his first start in three weeks.
For those wondering, Justin Faulk continued to skate on the team's top power play, while Dougie Hamilton worked the second unit.
Patrice Bergeron skated in career game 1000 on Tuesday and had a typical Bergeron evening. Two goals, four shots while playing a key role on special teams. He continues to click at a triple-digit pace.
Brad Marchand added two helpers and Tuukka Rask stopped 28 of 29 to keep his heater rolling. He's 8-0-2 with a 0.945 save percentage stretching back to December 29th.
That concussion we were worried about last week appears fully in the rearview.
San Jose defeated the Jets 3-2 in overtime as Joe Pavelski scored the shorthanded winner in the extra frame. That's eight points in the last four games for Little Joe.
Erik Karlsson missed his fifth consecutive game – not even making the trip to Winnipeg. This isn't a great look for the Sharks. EK was already dealing with the injury before the All-Star break but decided to suit up for the event with it happening in San Jose.
Here's hoping this doesn't linger too much longer.
Rasmus Dahlin tallied a power play goal and skated 25:25 as the Sabres beat the Wild 5-4 in a shootout. The 18-year-old defender has recorded two goals and nine points while averaging over 22 minutes in 11 games over the past month.
Sam Reinhart and Jack Eichel each had two points in this one despite the Sabres shuffling their lines.
Ryan Suter recorded two assists and skated 30:10 in the defeat. The 34-year-old is on pace for career-high 56 points.
He's remains a monster.
Some injury news and notes out of Arizona:
Jakob Chychrun was placed on the IR. That means the Coyotes dressed Kevin Connaughton, Jordan Oesterle, Kyle Capobianco and Ilya Lyubushkin – not exactly a who’s who of proven assets.
Darcy Kuemper suffered an upper-body injury and is also out. Calvin Pickard took the reins Tuesday and Adin Hill was recalled from the farm. Pickard was good in the game against the Predators making 42 saves, but he didn't get much help.
Roman Josi produced a goal and two helpers as the Preds defeated the Yotes 5-2. Josi has seven points in his last six games and has broken the 40-point barrier for the sixth consecutive season.
Pekka Rinne made 24 stops to record just his third quality start in the past 11 games. A welcome sight for owners who were beginning to feel the heat from Juuse Saros.
After a scary incident last night, Alex Edler somehow escaped without any broken bones. He suffered some deep lacerations, a few broken teeth and has been sent back to Vancouver with a concussion. Even with a diagnosed concussion, the result could’ve been much worse.
The Canucks took on the reigning Cup Champs on Tuesday evening on the tail end of a back-to-back on the road.
With Thatcher Demko suddenly on a plane back to Vancouver to have an MRI on his knee, the Canucks used an Emergency Recall on 19-year-old, Michael DiPietro.
In the last nine months, DiPietro has suited up for the Windsor Spitfires and Ottawa 67s of the OHL. He was the third netminder for Canada at the 2018 World Championships, as well as the starter for the Canadians at the recent World Junior Championships. Now the back-up gig for an NHL contest.
You know he’s had a massive smile on his face for all of it.
The Canucks shook up their lines ahead of this one with Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser being split up. Pettersson skated alongside Josh Leivo and Antoine Roussel. While Boeser lined up with Bo Horvat and Nikolay Goldobin.
Caps held the play In the first half of this one but were outshot and outplayed in the final 30 minutes. They managed to hold on for a 3-2 victory after Pettersson tallied with six seconds left to cut the deficit to one.
Alex Ovechkin assisted on the game's first marker to move ahead of Sergei Fedorov for the most points by a Russian-born player.
For my money, there's no true debate regarding the best Russian of all-time. Hell, I'm fully convinced that Ovi is the greatest goal-scorer of all-time too. But if we're looking at players from the Motherland on a per-game basis from their primes, Pavel Bure is the only guy who can make a case.
Here are the aggregate totals from Bure and Ovechkin's best four seasons:
Pavel Bure: 229 goals, 172 assists and 401 points in 314 games
Alex Ovechkin: 223 goals, 206 assists and 429 points in 314 games
During their peak seasons, Bure outscored Ovechkin on a per game basis, while trailing by a decent margin in assists. Of course, staying healthy is almost as important as what you do while you're on the ice, and that's one area where Ovechkin absolutely dominates the Russian Rocket.
Over in the college ranks, the state of Massachusetts is buzzing with the annual Beanpot tournament. This pits the top NCAA schools from the region against one another for the prestigious 65-year-old trophy.
Monday saw Boston University and Northeastern square off and Canucks’ prospect, Tyler Madden was the hero in overtime as he converted on a breakaway.
I’m not sure which is better, his on-ice skills or his celebratory game.
Madden is making a claim to be the best value pick from the 2018 class. Taken 68th overall by Vancouver, he’s been dynamite as the top line centre for the Huskies this season, and was a swiss army knife for the Americans at the WJC.
He sure looks to have a future as a top-six forward. Keeper leagues, take notice.
Amidst the trade rumours, Sergei Bobrovsky snuck in a rare win as the Blue Jackets defeated the Avalanche 6-3. It was his first victory since January 13 and is a welcome sight for owners.
Columbus split up their big line in this one and it appeared to work. Artemi Panarin slid down to play with Alex Wennberg and Oliver Bjorkstrand, while Pierre-Luc Dubois and Cam Atkinson skated with Nick Foligno.
PLD and Atkinson combined for three goals while the Panarin line chipped in with two goals and four points.
Colorado has now lost four straight and remains on the outside of the Western Wild Card picture.
Oskar Klefbom has been activated from the IR. The 25-year-old has been out for nearly two months with a hand injury. Despite missing 21 contests, Klefbom still sits second for blueline points with 15 in 31 games. His 25:25 average per contest remains a team-high.
This is a massive boon the Oilers’ backend (and power-play). Klefbom didn't immediately step back into his role on the team’s top unit. Darnell Nurse has been very good in that spot since Klefbom went down. He's recorded 17 points – eight on the power play, in the 22 games with Klefbom on the sideline. Nurse chipped in a power-play assist on Tuesday as well.
It'll be very interesting how the Oilers proceed once Klefbom is back up to speed.
Even with the return of Klefbom, the Oilers were no match for the streaking Blackhawks on Tuesday. With a goal and an assist, Patrick Kane extended his ridiculous point-streak to 12 games and 28 points. The former first overall pick has 17 goals and 41 points in his last 20 contests.
Can you say, en fuego?
Connor McDavid did his thing setting up two goals and a dozen other glorious chances that went unconverted. Meanwhile, Leon Draisaitl scored his 30th and 31st goals of the season to continue to build on a career-high. It wasn't enough though as the Oilers fell 6-2.
Cam Talbot was given the hook after giving up four goals on 27 shots. Mikko Koskinen allowed two goals on eight shots to close this one out. I think the Oilers may still need some help in net..
Follow me on Twitter @Hockey_Robinson