It was a quiet day around the hockey world yesterday. The Tampa Bay Lightning was among the handful of teams that made a move, re-signing restricted free agent forward Danick Martel.
Heading into this season, it will be interesting to see how the team plans to use him. With even more depth at forward arriving this season, the team could be hoping he’ll pass through waivers to go be a top six forward in Syracuse. But if they think he won’t clear, he could reprise his role as the 13th or 14th forward on the NHL roster this season.
The Lightning still have a handful of RFAs to deliver news about before the start of the regular season.
Adam Erne, Cedric Paquette, Brayden Point, Ben Thomas, Dominik Masin, and Carter Verhaeghe are all players we’re waiting for news on.
Traditionally, the Lightning front office has a habit of resolving the RFA contracts of depth players in bunches so it wouldn’t be surprising to get more news later today or through the long weekend. Paquette, Erne, Thomas, Masin, and Verhaeghe should all be standard negotiations so they’ll like wrap up over the next week or so. The Brayden Point negotiation is obviously a different situation and that could drag on long into the summer.
A restricted free agent this off-season, Kerfoot’s new deal makes him the fourth-highest paid forward on the Leafs’ roster for the time being — while restricted free agent Mitch Marner remains unsigned — slotting in just above recently signed Andreas Johnsson ($3.4 million per year) and Kasperi Kapanen ($3.2 million per year).
They also signed defender Cody Ceci to a one-year deal.
With his $4.5-million deal in tow, Ceci now ranks as the second-highest-paid defenceman on the Leafs’ roster, behind only Morgan Rielly’s $5 million per year. Rielly remains the only Leafs defenceman signed past next season.
Kerfoot's 4 year deal buys the club 3 RFA Arb years and 1 UFA year. Meaning he'll be an unrestricted free agent when his new contract expires.— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) July 4, 2019
Ceci, who is 25 years old with 6 accrued seasons under his belt, was Arb. eligible. He is now 1 year away from unrestricted free agency. https://t.co/qtq6huh75X
-Of course, with Mitch Marner still left, many are wondering how Toronto is going to pull it off.
So which team is gonna help Toronto out so they can sign Marner? https://t.co/EE6dlRw641— Kevin (@Kpower90) July 5, 2019
Meanwhile, their AHL club also made some moves to deepen the organization’s depth:
The Toronto Marlies continued to plot away at their summer signing season, inking three players to new contracts for next year. One is a returning forward, and the other two are fresh from amateur hockey. Marcus Power, Sergei Sapego, and Maksim Zhukov will all get a shot at the Marlies in training camp, but with the current depth at defense and goalie, along with Power’s ties to St. John’s, all three are expected to play for the Newfoundland Growlers next season.
-Here’s something you don’t see every day: A “superfan” of a championship team getting a letter from the leader of the city they beat. A fan in St. Louis garnered enough positive attention in the support of her team that she got a letter from Boston’s mayor.
Taking last year’s injury off the table, Gardiner has regularly been one of the best puck moving defenders over his eight-season career. He’s been prone to make some big mistakes at inopportune times and will catch the ire of the home fans as a result (sound familiar). He’s got his detractors, but the fact of the matter is that the numbers show Gardiner is a legitimate top-4 defender on any team in the NHL.
-Many of the Syracuse Crunch’s Eastern Conference rivals have been bolstered by free agency, writes Patrick Williams.
Depth is critical in order to build a successful NHL team, and general managers have been busy this week restocking their rosters.
-Here’s a feel-good story from yesterday: Young players from the Central PA Lawmen spent part of the day holding a fundraiser to help get a service dog for a local veteran.
Players from the team, along with supporters in the community, hit the field doing everything from push-ups and burpees - and of course it wouldn’t be boot camp if there wasn’t a little running involved.
”I was touched to know these young men from seven years old on up wanted to do something like this and be committed,” Robert Lighty, says.
-Another nice story: The Central Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CABVI) and USA Blind Hockey announced a three-year partnership Wednesday to make Utica, NY the official home for the USA Blind Hockey training camp.
“This partnership is a wonderful honor and allows us to move forward with our elite sports program,” said Kathy Beaver, VP of CABVI Rehabilitation. “We worked hard for this to happen and today, we made history. We’re ready to prove that we’re well prepared to work with the athletes, represent them, and be their official home.”
-Roughly 15 Chinese citizens will travel to Park City, Utah, for a cultural exchange hockey program next week.
“The sport of hockey is growing tremendously in China, especially considering the 2022 Winter Olympics are being held in Beijing,” Eves said. “Being able to continue the tradition that we at Vail (International Hockey) started in 1985 to a new place such as Park City is something I think will pay major dividends for our end goal of trying to create a pipeline between the Mountain West and China hockey.”