Minutes away from an arbitration hearing, he and Lightning agree on two-year, $4.725 million contract
Teddy Purcell- File photo
At 9 a.m. Wednesday, Teddy Purcell was ready to enter a salary arbitration hearing at the NHL offices in Toronto.
Ten minutes later, the St. John's native had a new two-year contract worth $4.725-million with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The 25 year-old Purcell was happy to avoid the arbitration hearing, which often result in a team outlining what it sees as a player's shortcomings. But he also suggest the threat of arbitration helped lead to a deal.
"It's a difficult process, that's for sure," says Purcell who had been a restricted free agent, "but I was pretty confident we were going to get something done.
"Both sides were kind of using (the hearing) as part of the negotiation process to see if they could get something done, so it was a good feeling that we came to an agreement today before we had to go through the process."
Purcell feels the delay in getting his deal had nothing to do with the Lightning's contract talks with all-star Steven Stamkos, who signed a five-year deal worth 37.5 million on Tuesday.
"With the draft on June 25 and free agency (on July 1), I think (Tampa Bay general manager Steve) Yzerman and his team has some other stuff on their plate to take care of first and they knew my case was going to be relatively easy, being a restricted free agent," says Purcell.
Asked how close the agreed-on contract was to what he and Kent Hughes, his agent, were seeking, Purcell says "it was in the range."
Either way, he's happy to have avoided arbitration and received a "nice raise" from the $750,000 he earned in last season
The deal pays Purcell about $2.36-million a season, a sum he figures he earned following a breakout year with the Lightning which saw him score 17 goals and 34 assists for 51 points in 81 regular-season games - the third-best total on the team - and an impressive 17 points in 18 playoff contests.
"For me personally, I gained a lot of confidence and I worked hard for my opportunities and put myself in a position to succeed.
"When you do well as a team, individuals on the team get rewarded.
In a sense, this past campaign was Purcell's first full NHL season after three years in the Los Angeles Kings' organization, where Purcell says he was "never given the chance to succeed like he was in Tampa Bay."
"I tried to keep a positive attitude, as hard as it was at times, and I'm fortunate it's working out in Tampa. Hopefully, I can continue to be a good player for that organization for a long time."
Purcell will be back in St. John's to resume his off-season training next week, then it's back to Florida and his condo in downtown Tampa.
"Maybe I'll add a few things to it, make it a home a little more over the next couple of years," he says. "Treat myself."