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Seattle Kraken

Kraken Forced to Restructure Philipp Grubauer’s Contract

The contract between the Seattle Kraken and Philipp Grubauer was rejected by the league on Saturday, forcing the deal to be tweaked.

On day one of free agency this past Wednesday, the Seattle Kraken surprised many with the announcement that they had signed goaltender Philipp Grubauer to a six-year, $35.4 million deal with an average annual value of $5.9 million. While the deal was thought to be done however, the league went on to reject the structure of the contract on Saturday.

The reason behind this decision was that the contract was frontloaded. The league put in rules years ago to prevent such deals from happening. But, unlike a deal between Ilya Kovalchuk and the New Jersey Devils where the terms of the contract were obvious, this one appeared to be a minor miscalculation by the Kraken and has since been resolved. According to a team spokesperson for the Kraken, the change to this contract involves $250,000 being moved from the 2023-24 season to 2022-23.

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Philipp Grubauer Colorado Avalanche
Philipp Grubauer, former Colorado Avalanche goaltender

Grubauer, 29, was perhaps the most surprising signing on the opening day of free agency. While most expected the 2020-21 Vezina Trophy nominee to re-sign with the Colorado Avalanche, they were unable to come up with the money to bring him back and instead chose to make a trade with the Arizona Coyotes and acquire Darcy Kuemper.

The 2020-21 season was Grubauer’s best to date, as he posted a 1.95 goals against average (GAA) along with a .922 save percentage (SV%) in 40 games played. He also played quite well in the playoffs, posting a 2.61 GAA and a .914 SV% in 10 games, though the Avalanche were eliminated in the second round by the Vegas Golden Knights.

Despite the strong season, Grubauer has had issues with inconsistency as well as staying healthy in past years. It remains to be seen how this contract will play out, especially given the fact he will be playing behind what figures to be a much weaker roster in Seattle than he had in Colorado. Of course, we learned from the Golden Knights that expansion teams can come in and compete right from the get go, but it doesn’t seem as likely this time around. Still, if Grubauer is able to anywhere near the level he was at this past season, they will be very well off in the goaltending department.

Next: Nick Ritchie Signs 2-Year Contract With Maple Leafs [Report]

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