3 best signings of the offseason
The days of outrageous offseason signings look to be a thing of the past.
NHL clubs and general managers are becoming increasingly cautious with how they spend their dough. Infamous contracts like David Clarkson's seven-year, $36.75-million deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2013 are becoming more rare and the onus is now on getting the best value for a player.
With that, here are the three best signings of the offseason:
San Jose Sharks - Martin Jones
Toward the end of the 2014-15 season, two things started to become clear in the Western Conference: the Sharks were going to let goaltender Antti Niemi walk, and the Los Angeles Kings - en route to missing the playoffs - were likely to make a couple of tweaks to their roster.
Ultimately, both clubs fixed their issues with Jones. The Kings traded the 25-year-old to the Boston Bruins in a deal for Milan Lucic, who flipped him to the Sharks. The Sharks followed that up by inking Jones to a three-year, $9-million contract.
The deal gives Jones the chance to be a starter after spending two seasons playing behind Jonathan Quick. The young netminder played 34 games with the Kings, posting a 16-11-2 record with an impressive .923 save percentage, a 1.99 goals-against average, and seven shutouts.
His sample size is small, which was likely used by the Sharks in contract negotiations. However, the Sharks get a very reliable goalie who looks to be headed toward a long NHL career. He provides a fresh face on the back end at a very good price.
Calgary Flames - Dougie Hamilton
The Bruins shocked many when they dealt defenseman Hamilton to the Flames on draft day 2015.
Hamilton was believed to be an integral part of the Bruins' future, and though it became clear contract negotiations weren't going as planned, a trade still seemed unlikely.
After pulling off the move to further bolster their blue line, the Flames quickly signed Hamilton to a six-year, $34.5-million contract.
Though, like Jones, Hamilton has a relatively small sample size, the 22-year-old - in a short time - has proved he is potential captain material.
The blue-liner does it all on the back end, putting up decent offensive numbers with 83 points in 178 games, while proving to be a stabilizing defensive force.
His $5.75-million cap hit puts him in the top 20 for defenders, but as he continues to mature - and with the cap possibly rising - his contract could be looked at as a bargain down the road.
Washington Capitals - Justin Williams
The Capitals reached the second round of the playoffs last season before bowing out to the New York Rangers in overtime in Game 7. With the addition of Williams on a two-year deal, the Caps instantly become a better club than they iced during the postseason.
Williams brings with him a resume that includes three Stanley Cup rings and the 2014 Conn Smythe Trophy. A proven winner, the forward can be the voice in the dressing room to help lead the way and show the Capitals what it takes to be a champion.
His production has dipped slightly in recent years, finishing with 18 goals and 41 points in 81 games last season, but he remains steady. Williams should be able to chip in 20 goals next season - and possibly more - depending where head coach Barry Trotz plugs him into the lineup.
With a cap-hit of just $3.25 million, Williams brings skill and experience to a club that could use both.
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