Forward Jordan Martinook and the Coyotes avoided arbitration when the sides agreed to a two-year deal on Saturday morning that a league source said carries an average annual value of $1.8 million.
Martinook, who was a restricted free agent, will make $1.75 million this season and $1.85 million the following season.
“I definitely did not want to go to arbitration,” said Martinook, who is with his wife, visiting teammate Jamie McGinn at McGinn’s lake house near Toronto. “It’s just a process that RFAs take when you have it. I was definitely happy to get something done before Wednesday. It’s my 25th birthday on Tuesday and then I found out it’s my agent’s anniversary on the 26th so the stars aligned and it’s nice that we don’t have to come to Toronto.”
Martinook’s arbitration hearing was scheduled for Wednesday. Arizona also signed RFA minor-league forward Tyler Gaudet on Saturday to a one-year, two-way deal on Saturday with an NHL salary of $650,000 and an AHL salary of $85,000 ($110,000 guaranteed), per a league source.
“Arbitration is a hard thing for a player to go through,” Martinook’s agent, Jeff Helperl said. “You have to sit there and listen to teams tell you how much they think you’re worth and sometimes it doesn’t come out the right way. You shake hands at the end of the day, but there are some hard things to hear so to not have the player go through that and get the number we wanted makes everyone happy.”
On July 2, Helperl told Arizona Sports that his client intended to file for salary arbitration because talks “have gone nowhere,” and on Thursday, after some progress, he reiterated that stance.
Coyotes GM John Chayka said via text message on Saturday that no deal had been struck when he spoke with Arizona Sports on Friday, but the two sides were able to bridge the gap late on Friday, with Helperl dealing mainly with Coyotes assistant GM Chris O’Hearn.
“People can do their homework pretty quickly and you can figure out a range of where the outcomes may lie and then what the most likely outcome is,” Chayka said. “You go back and forth a bit and then find something that makes sense for the player and something that makes sense for the team.”
“I think he’s a versatile guy. Last year, he played in a lot of situations, obviously played center and wing and played up and down the lineup. Jordan is a guy that’s going to push the envelope and continue to try to improve himself as a player but he comes back to being that hard-working, heavy forecheck penalty killer that’s added a lot of value to our team and played in a lot of key situations.”
Martinook, 24, made $612,500 last season in the second year of his two-year, $1.225 million deal. He had career-highs in goals (11) and points (25) in 77 games, bouncing between left wing, center and right wing. The Coyotes selected Martinook in the second round (58th overall) of the 2012 Draft. Chayka still thinks Martinook can provide versatility in a top-nine forward role, but he believes his natural and best position is left wing where the Coyotes still have a logjam.
The Martinook deal means the Coyotes only have one restricted free agent off their NHL roster left to sign. Right wing Anthony Duclair, whose camp is engaged in talks with GM John Chayka on a short-term deal — an expected term after the second-year forward managed just five goals last season. Chayka said negotiations are ongoing.
Arizona is also close to signing RFA minor league goalie Marek Langhamer.
Gaudet had six goals and 22 points in 62 games for Tucson (AHL) last season. He had an assist in four games with the Coyotes.