The Nation Notebook: Tavares and the Islanders, Nate Schmidt, and PTO’s!

‎The Nation Network Notebook is a regular feature that rounds up interesting news, stories, and rumours from around the NHL that don’t quite deserve their own article. 

John Tavares’ contract situation is getting a lot of attention. Nate Schmidt and the Vegas Golden Knights go through the arbitration process. Brandon Prust lands a professional try out contract (PTO) with Los Angeles, meanwhile, Brandon Pirri is holding out for an NHL opportunity despite rumours he was signing in the Swiss league.

John Tavares and Long Island

John Tavares hasn’t signed an extension with the New York Islanders yet despite saying he wants to continue with the Isles. Tavares is bound to be one of the top paid players, and possibly even close to Connor McDavid’s contract extension kicking in 2018-19.

Tavares will easily break $10 million per year. Patrick Kane and Johnathan Toews are in that range, and although they have won a few of cups together, Tavares is dealing with a significantly less successful team with a curious arena situation. His scoring resume is better than Toews’, and he plays center which mitigates the points difference between Kane and him. Both Kane and Toews signed deals a year in advance, otherwise they would have been free agents at 27 like Tavares could be next summer.

I’m not sure if McDavid’s extension really brings salaries up across the league, but the Carey Price’s $10.5 million per year extension makes me think otherwise. Price will be 31 when his new contract begins, and he’ll be the highest paid goaltender by $2 million, previously held by Henrik Lundqvist. Price plays an entirely different position, will be much older than Tavares when his contract begins, but it still feels like a similar situation where Montreal was basically at the mercy of Price, similar to New York and Tavares.

There’d be no shortage of teams lining up to pay $12 million or more a year, whether that’s a good idea or not is moot, but acquiring a legitimate top center for nothing but cash seems like something most teams would look at. Montreal would move heaven and earth to fit Tavares in. Nashville has a bunch of cap space and could use another center with Ryan Johansen, who they had to trade Seth Jones to acquire, locked up. Minnesota has Mikko Koivu hitting free agency next season and could use a first-line center. I’d never count out Toronto with Lou Lamoriello capable of bending the CBA to his will.

Tavares could easily find a team willing to give him McDavid money. Maybe he just ends up signing for similar to Kane and Toews, but those contracts were signed in 2014, so I won’t be surprised if Tavares surpasses that wherever he signs. This will be a story as long as Tavares remains unsigned, similar to Steven Stamkos’ contract year.

Arbitrator Awards Schmidt $2.25m

The Vegas Golden Knights and defenceman Nate Schmidt actually went to arbitration, and he was awarded a two-year deal worth $2.25 million per year.

Schmidt will likely see a huge jump from his 15:29 he played with Washington last year. He’ll be relied upon a lot considering the lack of top-four options available in the expansion draft. Vegas hopes that Schmidt, along with some form of Shea Theodore, Griffin Reinhart, Colin Miller, and Brayden McNabb will fill out the Golden Knights defense as their young core.

Prust signs a PTO with L.A.

Brandon Prust played in Germany last season with the Nuermberg Thomas Sabo Ice Tiger scoring 8 points in 29 games. Prust attended Maple Leafs camp last season but didn’t get a contract. He’ll try his hand at securing another NHL contract this season with Los Angeles, according to Kings insider Jon Rosen.

Prust last scored 7 points in 35 games for Vancouver after being traded there for Zack Kassian. He would eventually be waived and play 9 games for Utica Comets and score 7 points.

Prust will be one of many player signing a PTO, and we’ll hear of many more in the coming weeks.

Pirri seeking NHL offer

While Prust is going to L.A.’s camp, Brandon Pirri is holding out hope for an NHL opportunity. Pirri told Brian Hedger that despite reports he’s going to Switzerland, he’s still trying to find a home in the NHL.

Pirri scored 18 points in 60 games for the New York Rangers last season and is only 26-years old. Pirri should be able to provide depth scoring and find a role on the power play for some team.

  • HOCKEY83

    Price is not worth $10 mil per. No goalie in this league should be paid that. Montreal has screwed themselves now when it comes to signing high quality forwards. 18 million + tied up in just Weber and Price until 2025-26 season. That’s gonna be tough for them. Wouldn’t shock me at all if Talbot’s camp next season was looking for this same kind of pay day. He’s due for a raise and he’s gonna want a big one.

    At the top of the article
    “Patrick Kane and John Tavares are in that range, and although they have won a few of cups together, Tavares is dealing with a significantly less successful…”
    probably meant to say Jonathan Toews

    • LAKID

      You think the Habs are in cap trouble. The Leafs will have to pay Matthews 15 million to stay , 7-8 for Marner,7-8 for Nylander and they are light in the crease. No goalie is ever going to get that kind of money again and it’s just silly to assume Talbot would command that.