The electrifying yet maddeningly inconsistent Teemu Pulkinen has moved from one desert NHL team to another, being claimed by Vegas in the expansion draft from Arizona. His contract situation remains murky.
In two recent columns, I rambled about new RFAs and UFAs and whether their contract year performances helped or hurt their chances of a new deal.
These free agents are all prospects, and more specifically, players who have not been graduated by Dobber from prospect status to solid NHL players. For example, Teuvo Teravainen of the Carolina Hurricanes wasn’t included in the review.
There was no plan to include veteran UFA netminder Steve Mason, signed by the Jets reportedly to a two-year, $8.2-million deal, presumably to mentor and perhaps push youngster Connor Hellebuyck. More about that at the bottom of this column.
After a blizzard of recent transactions and at the height of free-agent frenzy today on July 1, let’s see how my forecasts held up. Please bear in mind that some players were signed to short contracts to allow teams to fulfil their expansion draft obligations and in some cases to protect a better player.
Most of these players are admittedly relevant only to poolies in keeper pools.
LW Nicolas Kerdiles, 23 RFA: Outlook: A short-term contract offer. Outcome: In what is very much a prove-yourself deal, Kerdiles inked a one-year, two-way extension.
G Kevin Boyle, 24 RFA: Outlook: His 10-5-1 record for the Gulls … guarantees the Ducks will offer a short-term deal while they gauge what kind of future Boyle might have in Anaheim. Outcome: Signed a one-year extension.
RW/LW Teemu Pulkkinen, 25 RFA: Outlook: The next season or two in the desert will decide whether he has a successful NHL career or possibly returns to Europe. Outcome: Selected by Vegas in the expansion draft, so he’s still in a desert.
LW, Mitch Moroz, 23 RFA: Outlook: The 6-2, 214-pounder’s truculence comes with a history of bad penalties and not many points. He’s just 23, and could be on the move again. Outcome: Arizona did not tender a qualifying offer.
C/RW Noel Acciari, 25 RFA: Outlook: Four assists in five post-season games might intrigue the Bs enough to extend a short-term deal. Outcome: Boston tendered a qualifying offer.
D Joe Morrow, 24 RFA: Outlook: The Bruins need help on their back end and Morrow, still only 24, might get a deal as a depth blueliner, although he’ll be lucky if it’s not a two-way contract. Outcome: Signed a two-year contract.
Buffalo secured the services of backup Linus Ullmark for two more seasons:
G Linus Ullmark, 23 RFA: Outlook: In a perfect world for the Sabres, Vegas won’t choose Ullmark in the expansion draft, Buffalo will offer him a two- or three-year deal and he’ll back up fellow Swede Robin Lehner next season. Outcome: Vegas didn’t claim him and Buffalo signed him to a two-year extension.
C Justin Kea, 23 RFA: Outlook: Unless the Sabres still believe they have a late-blooming power forward, Kea will be lucky to get an NHL contract offer. Outcome: Buffalo did not tender a qualifying offer.
G Jon Gillies, 23 RFA: Outlook: Although the Flames have stockpiled netminding prospects, he should get a short-term deal to