For most professional clubs, July is the busiest month of the offseason — and maybe even the entire year. Each team battles to secure players from the long list of free agents, and it can seem impossible to keep up with all that is happening from day to day.
But, as my partner Ryan Henning has pointed out before, once the free agent rush is over, the offseason can be a slow period for hockey fans. That is no different this year, but the good news is that recently teams have made some moves in the forms of contract extensions. So let’s take a moment to look at a few of the agreements that have been made.
Max Pacioretty, Montreal Canadiens
Perhaps the biggest and most recent extension in the league went to the young standout for Montreal. Pacioretty has reportedly agreed to sign a six-year extension, which will leave him with the Canadiens until he is a 29-year-old.
This is a smart move from Montreal, since he was the teams leading scorer with 65 points this past season. He also won the Bill Masterton Trophy for perseverance, determination and dedication to hockey. Simply put, Pacioretty is the right guy to lead this club for the foreseeable future — even if it does cost the Canadiens about $27 million to keep him around.
Jean-Sebastien Giguere, Colorado Avalanche
Apparently the Avalanche are convinced that a veteran presence between the pipes is pivotal in their postseason run in the upcoming season because Giguere will be back. The 35-year-old agreed to a one-year extension on Monday, which will keep him in Colorado until the end of the 2013-14 season.
Similar to the extension above, I like this move. Giguere played in just 32 games last season, but he posted a very impressive 2.27 goals against average. If he can continue to play at this level, he works as an excellent stabilizing agent when the youngster Semyon Varlamov struggles.
Jeff Skinner, Carolina Hurricanes
The ‘Canes have been busy this offseason, and that trend continued a few days ago when Skinner had his contract extended through the 2018-19 season. If you remember, he was given the Calder Memorial Trophy as the league’s rookie of the year in 2011 when he scored 63 points on 31 goals and 32 assists. Unfortunately, due to some missed time on the ice, he saw that number dip below 50 in year number two.
Carolina believes that Skinner could be a centerpiece of what is quickly becoming a very dangerous offensive attack. The Hurricanes added Alexander Semin and Jordan Staal earlier in the offseason, so you’d have to think this extension is the metaphorical icing on the cake.
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