A small flurry of NHL player signings Monday morning included the New York Rangers locking up one of their best young defencemen for six years.
Ryan McDonagh, 24, signed with the Rangers for an average salary of $4.7-million (all currency U.S.) for the next six years, which is a decent salary-cap number if his development continues at its present pace. With Marc Staal out for much of last season with an eye injury, McDonagh played on the Rangers' top pair with Dan Girardi and averaged more than 24 minutes per game in ice time.
The Ottawa Senators also signed a defenceman, although it was a much more minor move. They gave veteran Joe Corvo, 36, a one-year deal for $900,000. That will replace some of the secondary power-play minutes the Senators lost when they traded Gonchar to the Dallas Stars.
Another move saw forward Alexander Burmistrov, 21, end his relationship with the Winnipeg Jets. According to the Continental Hockey League (KHL) website, Burmistrov signed a two-year deal with Ak Bars Kazan. In three NHL seasons, Burmistrov, who was taken eighth overall in the 2010 NHL entry draft, never approached his scoring potential and had just 10 points in 44 games last season.
Burmistrov's departure did not come as a surprise to the Jets, given his relationship with head coach Claude Noel. But the Jets will retain his NHL rights.
“Through our conversations and correspondence with Alex and his agent, it became apparent Alex had a desire to continue his development as a young player in the KHL," Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement released by the team. "He remains a very talented player within the Jets organization and we will continue to monitor his progress and development going forward."
McDonagh becomes the fourth-highest paid Ranger with the contract, which indicates the high hopes the team has for him. In three NHL seasons, the 6-foot-1, 213-pound defenceman showed he is a hard-worker with a lot of offensive potential. He had 19 points in 47 games last season with the Rangers but that rate should rise as he becomes a regular member of the power play.
Corvo's signing marks his second stint with the Senators, although his role not be as prominent this time around. He played almost two seasons in Ottawa after signing as a free agent in 2006.
"He has been here, he has an understanding of what it takes to play in this market," Sens GM Bryan Murray said in a statement. "The most important thing with Joe is he's a veteran guy [who] can play on the power play, he can shoot the puck well, address some of the needs that are needed in the league today where you need to get points from your back end."