This has become the summer of one-way, two-way contracts. The Ottawa Senators signed yet another one on Friday, inking winger Matt Puempel to a contract worth $75k in the AHL and $900k in the NHL.
Puempel was the 24th-overall pick of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, a pick acquired from the Red Wings in exchange for two second-round picks (that became Tomas Jurco and Xavier Ouellet). In 39 career NHL games, he has four goals and two assists. In 136 career AHL games, he has 81 points, including 42 goals. He impressed in his first full AHL season in 2013-14, netting 30 goals, and reduced his goal pace but increased his points pace in 2014-15.
It really remains to be seen what the Sens have in Puempel. Last season, Shane Prince was traded at the deadline in part to make room for Puempel. Then the Sens signed Scott Gomez the next day, and Puempel played in just three games over the next three weeks. We really haven’t seen enough of him at the NHL level to make a judgment. Depending on what Guy Boucher does with Zack Smith, Puempel could be seen as the third-best LW in the entire Sens system, which is saying a lot for a guy with less than half a season of NHL experience.
Puempel is no longer waiver eligible, so he will likely get the Prince treatment by being kept up with the team so as to not lose him on waivers. Here’s hoping we get to see him given some real chances, so that a year from now the team knows what kind of contract to offer.