It's been so quiet on the free agent front, that an entry-level deal gets some attention today.
The Columbus Blue Jackets came to terms with the 38th overall selection in June's Entry Draft, forward Paul Bittner, giving him his 3-year entry-level deal. No cap hit was initially reported with the report.
Bittner was included in my mock draft, as a potential 1st round pick, but he slipped down to the 2nd round and right into the lap of the Jackets.
The 18-year old from Minnesota is touted with size and pretty decent scoring skill, having played with a couple of junior greats in Oliver Bjorkstrand and Nic Petan in Portland of the WHL, so he provides some real intrigue, as to how much skill he may have or proving the suspicions that he may have been riding some pretty good coat tails. The Jackets seem to think the former and they'll offer him a shot at a full-time job.
Shortly after the Jackets' news, The Arizona Coyotes got into the mix, signing their 2nd round pick on the same day, the 32nd overall draft pick, forward Christian Fischer.
According to the Hockey News Draft Preview, Fischer was destined to head to Notre Dame to work on his game in the NCAA, but signing this deal today will pretty well put an end to those thoughts.
The same magazine describes him best as a potential power forward in the NHL, very good in the down low areas of the ice, protecting the puck, but should only top out as a 2nd line forward, more likely destined to be a hard-nosed 3rd liner.
Nevertheless, the product of the US National Development Team obviously has shown the Coyotes enough of his upside to warrant signing him as an 18-year old and taking him from the NCAA route. It looks like his CHL rights belong to Windsor in the OHL, so if he's not going to be bound for a full-time job with the Coyotes, he'll likely head to junior to develop.