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Lehtonen's Next Contract

Today marked the very first steps toward assembling the 2007-08 Thrasher squad as the team announced the signing of several recent draft picks. But for a moment I'd like to look ahead to next summer. The summer of 2008 will be a key moment in franchise history as the contracts of Bobby Holik, Marian Hossa and Kari Lehtonen are all set to expire. The team could change substantially depending upon what happens then.

Two of those three players will be unrestricted free agents, but Lehtonen will be a restricted "free agent" which means that he really isn't free at all. Why am I talking about Lehtonen in June of 2007? Well the Carolina Hurricanes just announced they resigned their starting goaltender and Playoff MVP Cam Ward to a three year deal that pays him $2, $2.5, $3.5 (an average of $2.66 per year). Personally, I think Ward is a decent comparable to Lehtonen other than that playoff MVP thing of course. They are both roughly the same age and have the same role on their respective teams. Assuming Lehtonen continues to show improvement I would think his agent would seek a contract something like the one Cam Ward just inked.