With free agency now in its annual dull period, teams have taken to signing
their recent first round picks to entry level deals. On Monday, the Habs
joined in, inking winger Nikita Scherbak to a standard three year pact.
Though financial terms of the deal were not officially disclosed, most first
rounders receive the maximum NHL salary at the very least, which is $925,000.
Scherbak was selected 26th overall in last month’s draft, lower than where
most publications had him ranked. The fact that he’s Russian evidently
scared some teams off but the Habs weren’t afraid to take him. In fact, GM
Marc Bergevin noted after the draft that had the winger not been available, he
likely would have traded down.
Last season, Scherbak suited up for the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades after they
selected him in the CHL Import Draft. He was their lone threat on many
nights, finishing 35 points ahead of the next highest scorer on the team…who
wasn’t even there anymore. In total, he collected 28 goals and 50 assists
in 65 games. His goal total tied for the league high for WHL rookies while
his assist and point totals were tops among Western League freshmen. As a
result, he was the Eastern Conference’s finalist for Rookie of the Year.
As is the case with any junior aged player, Scherbak’s contract will slide
over into the following year if he doesn’t exceed more than nine games played
with the big club in 2014-15. Although Bergevin wouldn’t rule out Scherbak
making the team at the draft, he acknowledged that he likely needs a couple of
years of development before being ready. If he doesn’t play ten or more
NHL games, his cap hit will also drop by $30,833, the amount of his signing
bonus averaged out over the three year term of the deal.
In other news Monday, the Hamilton Bulldogs announced their third signing of
the offseason (joining previously-signed D David Makowski and C T.J. Hensick).
The club inked defenceman Bobby Shea to a one year, two-way (AHL/ECHL) contract.
The 24 year old rearguard completed his first professional season in 2013-14,
splitting time between AHL Rockford (29 games) and ECHL Toledo (19 contests).
Presumably, he’ll battle for a depth role with the Bulldogs or play a regular
role with their ECHL affiliate in Wheeling.