Ryan Spooner and the Bruins never made it to arbitration, settling on a one-year, $2.825 million contract ahead of Wednesday’s hearing, according to a source familiar with the negotiations. Hockey Night in Canada's Elliotte Friedman was the first to report the agreement. Spooner and his camp sought a $3.85 million deal, while the Bruins submitted $2 million as their number. Settling outside of arbitration locks in the player at an affordable number while avoiding a potentially messy process. Though Spooner now has a contract, his future with the Bruins isn’t much clearer than it was at season’s end. The 25-year-old center was a healthy scratch for the last two games of Boston’s playoff run,
It’s reasonable to assume that the New York Rangers were comfortable trading Derek Stepan in part because they believed Mika Zibanejad could step into the No. 1 center role. That puts a lot of pressure on Zibanejad, who’s never been the top pivot on an NHL team before. If that wasn’t enough, now he’ll need to justify the first big contract of his career (seeing his cap hit rise from $2.625 million to $5.35 million). At least he isn’t oblivious to this challenge, and as the Rangers website notes, he’s actually super happy* to raise the stakes. “I think even before signing, seeing Derek being traded was a little bit of an alert to me that I might get a chance to play a bigger role,” Zibanejad said.
ESPN.com news services The Stanley Cup isn't the only thing Connor McDavid wants. He also wants a shot at Olympic gold, and he's frustrated that NHL players likely won't get a chance to play in the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. In April, the NHL announced that it will not stop its season to allow players to compete at the Feb. 9-25 Olympics for the first time in 20 years. "I'm really upset about it," McDavid said, according to SportsNet. "You want to be able to represent your country on the highest stage, and the Olympics is obviously the highest stage possible. To know that you might not be able to represent your country at the Olympics for another four years for sure. ... Even if