Arnaud Durandeau was almost “what could’ve been?”
The QMJHL and Memorial Cup runner-up (to fellow Islanders prospect Noah Dobson, in both finals) would have re-entered the NHL Draft next month if he and the New York Islanders hadn’t agreed to terms on an entry level contract by the end of today.
Instead, the Islanders avoided some mild embarrassment — and if he’d re-entered, there’s no telling the 2017 6th-round pick (165th) would’ve landed in a better situation, though likely a higher draft position — and announced Durandeau’s signing today.
The team also announced the re-signing of Tanner Fritz, a nice roster depth forward who had his season cut short just when he was filling in for an injured Valtteri Filppula. After earning Barry Trotz’s trust as a callup, he was shut down for six weeks — what proved to be the rest of the season — with surgery for a blood clot in his hand.
Fritz has led Bridgeport in scoring when he’s been there, but Filppula is an unrestricted free agent so there may be an opening for Fritz on the NHL roster in 2019-20.
CapFriendly lists Fritz’s two-year deal at $700,000 both seasons, though it’s unconfirmed whether this coming season is a one-way deal (meaning the same salary whether he’s in the NHL or the AHL). If it is, that would make him expensive, but less likely to be claimed on waivers, if they assigned him to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
Durandeau’s looks like a pretty standard three-year ELC, though things may have gone down to the wire to get him a better bonus structure and/or minimum salary. The left-shooting, 6’0” Beaconsfield native projects as a potential middle-six forward. But his stock has steadily risen, as he put up 73 points in 68 regular season games with QMJHL Halifax this past season and added 20 more in 23 playoff games.