Roundup of Remaining Unsigned NHL RFAs – September 5, 2017
A look at NBC Sports’ Pro Hockey Talk list of the remaining notable NHL restricted free agents.
NBC SPORTS: Cam Tucker looked at this summer’s notable NHL RFAs still seeking new contracts.
There was a report winger Josh Anderson would skate with a team in Switzerland if a deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets wasn’t reached before training camp. His agent, however, claims that’s not the plan but merely an option.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jackets carry nearly $8 million in salary-cap space for this season, more than enough to re-sign Anderson. Still, they could prefer to keep his salary within a reasonable amount in order to give themselves room for future signings or acquisitions. Anderson’s AAV was just over $894K under his entry-level contract and he could seek around $2.5 million annually on his next season.
Detroit Red Wings forward Andreas Athanasiou continues to evaluate offers from the Wings and the KHL. His agent said there’s a considerable difference in the amount of money from the Wings and from KHL teams.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wings sit above the $75 million cap ceiling by over $3 million, though they’ll get some cap relief by placing sidelined winger Johan Franzen ($3.9 million) on long-term injury reserve. Still, that won’t be enough to give Athanasiou a suitable raise. I’m assuming he could be seeking between $1.5 – $2 million annually. There’s some talk the Wings wish to offer up less than that so as not to screw up their internal salary-cap structuring.
There’s speculation Calgary Flames center Sam Bennett could get between $2.5 – $3 million annually on his next contract. Flames general manager Brad Treliving remains confident of getting Bennett signed before training camp opens.
The Minnesota Wild has only around $2.14 million in salary-cap space to re-sign winger Marcus Foligno, who was acquired in a multi-player trade from the Buffalo Sabres in June.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Foligno earned $2.25 million last season. Unless the Wild shed some salary to give him a modest raise, he’ll have to accept less money to re-sign with the Wild.
After leading the Vancouver Canucks in scoring last season, center Bo Horvat is due a significant raise. The Canucks have around $5.3 million in cap space. There’s talk his new contract could be a short-term bridge deal, but team president Trevor Linden denied the speculation.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given the Canucks’ current cap space, I expect Horvat’s new deal will be worth just under $5 million annually. If it’s more than that, they’ll have to shed salary via trade or waivers to give themselves more room under the cap ceiling.
Negotiations between the Boston Bruins and winger David Pastrnak’s representatives were expected to resume last Friday. It’s believed agent J.P. Barry would make the case for his client to receive an eight-year deal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The eight-year, $68-million contract signed by forward Leon Draisaitl with the Edmonton Oilers last month hangs over the Pastrnak’s negotiations. The Bruins reportedly offered up six- or seven-year deals worth $6 million annually, but the winger’s camp apparently wants maximum term and over $7 million per season. That prompted some trade speculation last month but management quickly shot that down.
Contracts discussions between the New Jersey Devils and defenseman Damon Severson aren’t expected to drag on into training camp.
The Colorado Avalanche and defenseman Nikita Zadorov are reportedly $500K apart in negotiations. The 22-year-old seeks $2.5 million per season. Earlier this summer, it was reported Zadorov had an offer from a KHL club but was awaiting a better offer from the Avs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche have over $11 million in salary-cap space. Perhaps they have an internal cap ceiling they wish to stick with for the upcoming season. Given how close the two sides are to a new deal, however, it appears as though the Avs are quibbling at this point. As more than one pundit pointed out this summer, they seemingly have no problem throwing big money at veteran free agents.
Other than Foligno, all these players are coming off their entry-level contracts. At this stage, they have little leverage other than to refuse to report to training camp or threaten to sign with European teams. Trades are possible but I don’t think any of them will be dealt.