NHL Rumor Mill – August 21, 2021

by | Aug 21, 2021 | Rumors | 31 comments

A look at the remaining notable restricted free agents in today’s NHL rumor mill.

NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien recently looked at how some of the most prominent restricted free agent situations could play out.

VANCOUVER, CANADA – Vancouver Canucks center Elias Pettersson (NHL Images).

Regarding Vancouver Canucks center Elias Pettersson and defenseman Quinn Hughes, O’Brien noted the club’s salary-cap crunch could result in bridge contracts for those two. Both are represented by agent JP Barry, who floated the possibility of Hughes getting more term and Pettersson less, perhaps something comparable to Mathew Barzal’s three-year, $21 million contract with the New York Islanders.

Citing stats via Evolving Hockey, O’Brien speculated both could come in at $12 million. In that scenario, Pettersson could get two years at just under $5 million and Hughes getting six years.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: O’Brien noted it’s a messy situation that could go down to the wire. Pat Brisson, who represents both players with Barry, remains confident deals will get down but these things take time. He and Barry have said they’re open to short- or long-term contracts for their clients.

O’Brien doesn’t see a team attempting to sign Carolina Hurricanes winger Andrei Svechnikov to an offer sheet. However, he wonders if the one signed by teammate Sebastian Aho two years ago (five years, $8.45 million annually) could be a barometer for what Svechnikov gets.

Evolving Hockey projects a four-year deal worth $6.175 million per season for Svechnikov. O’Brien wonders if it might make sense for the winger to take less, or if the Hurricanes might bump up that annual average value to sign him to a longer-term that takes up more of his UFA years.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A longer-term with a cap hit of $7 million annually could be a bit of a gamble if the 21-year-old Svechnikov doesn’t blossom into a superstar. On the other hand, it would be worth it to lock him into that kind of deal if they’re confident he’ll reach that next level.

Observing Kirill Kaprizov’s contract standoff with the Minnesota Wild, O’Brien wonders if some of the other notable RFAs might wait and see what he eventually signs for. The Wild reportedly made offers of seven and eight years worth $9 million annually.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kaprizov reportedly has a one-year, eight-figure contract with KHL club CSKA Moscow. His camp prefers a three-year deal with the Wild to bring him up to his UFA eligibility to cash in on a more lucrative deal. Wild GM Bill Guerin claims to be unconcerned about that KHL deal but indicated he’s willing to entertain mid-range deals of four to six years.

O’Brien noted there was plenty of speculation over how much Brady Tkachuk might get on his next contract with the Ottawa Senators. Mikko Rantanen’s six-year, $9.25 million AAV with the Colorado Avalanche was one suggested comparable. More conservative estimates suggest six years at over $6.46 million annually or three years at $7.7 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tkachuk is arguably the most important core player on the rebuilding Senators. I can see him getting over $7 million annually for four-to-six years.

Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin’s up-and-down performance and the mess that is the Sabres franchise could affect what his next deal looks like. Projections suggest a three-year, $6.5 million AAV deal, six years at $6 million per or eight years at between $8 million and $8.25 million annually. O’Brien suggests a bridge deal might be best here for a blueliner who hasn’t shown his best work yet.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I can see the bridge deal here, but it’s the Sabres, so who knows what they’ve got planned for Dahlin.


  1. Tkachuk will get close to – if not the same as – Chabot. He, along with fellow-RFAs Batherson and Gustavsson, will have their new deals announced for publicity purposes geared towards a ticket sales push when they gather for the start of training camp.

    The 4th RFA, Logan Brown, will likely be gone elsewhere before then. Regardless, he’s in no position to push for anything significant.

  2. Sabres definitely need to lock Dahlin up for 8 years. He’s fantastic. If not……..trade him to the Bruins forZboril and a 1st.😏

    • bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

      • Too easy.

  3. How do teams deal with so many new contracts talking about $7, $8 and $9 mil AAV? Something has to give somewhere. You can only fit so many big contracts on a payroll of $81 mil unless the league is going to reduce the number of players on the roster?

    • Especially when these young kids are getting huge numbers & making demands as a RFA status as if they are UFA’s. Simple, the $$$ are going to run out & a large number of solid hockey play are going to get squeezed out. It will become a huge Union issue & the union will go to the owners & get them to put a cap on individual salaries, generational or not. Gonna be entertaining.

      • A rookie salary cap is coming similar to the NFL model for the first 4 yrs to keep the veterans pay scale up. The NHLPA has more vets than rookies so just a matter of time.

    • Yes we can now see how completely a bad idea of the hard cap truly is especially for teams that draft and develop star players we all hope our teams draft and develop only to lose them because they won’t fit under the cap due to their market value.

      In no way some players such as tkachuck would get a figure close to what Rantanen got but they play a similar role and is that small market teams premiere player, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone when he gets paid.

      I’ve been advocation teams that draft and develop their star players caps not count towards the cap, ie teams that are successful should not be punished for doing their job well. And any team that dips into free agency to cover their drafting short comings the contracts they offer is counted against the cap.

      • The recent back to back champs just proved your whole premise completely wrong.

      • 1 million percent disagree. This proves exactly why a hard cap is necessary. Without a hard cap owners can’t control themselves and start to price player contracts into the stratosphere (heck they still do even with a cap)… Without a cap you would have 4th line scrubs making 5+M per year. In a couple seasons it would completely squeeze the smaller market teams out of competition as they would never have the purse strings to compete. With no cap what type of contract would McDavid have been offered by rival clubs like NYR or Toronto with billionaire owners 20M/season 25M/season?

      • You’re completely wrong. The cap has the NHL with the best parody in all of sports this is why the NHL followed the NFL with a cap, so all the teams have an equal chance not the 6 biggest markets. This has been proven over and over since implemented, however it doesn’t protect bad ownership or bad management which is why it was adopted in the NFL and NHL.

      • Classic Ron Moore.
        Rewarding losers.
        Throw a bunch of seasons so you can draft high and not be subjected to the same rules as teams who remain competitive year after year.
        Brilliant idea.

      • Ron for years I have suggested a hybrid version of your post. To accomplish that teams signing players they draft to their second contract should get a specific dollar amount addition to the their cap and slightly higher again if they sign them to a third deal. e.g. $750K for the second and $1.5M for the third. As a fan in Tampa Bay I totally agree with your “punishment” take, but as others have suggested here the league cannot afford to circle back to total cap circumvention.

    • Nasdaq40,

      Online chatter isn’t the same as actual contracts and among 31 NHL teams there is room for 2 high priced contracts for “franchise players”

      Colorado is a good example, they paid Rantanen and Makar but not Landeskog.

      When you have 3-4 players in that range you need to show managerial skill to make it work and avoid duds.

      If you have a franchise C, D and G, chances are you’ll go further than teams overloading on position.

      The salary cap just accentuates the formation of the team.

      TBL- Kucherov, Hedman, Vasilevskiy, Stamkos
      TML- Tavares, Matthews, Marner.

      One is built to win
      One is built to fail.

  4. If Dahlin has any sense it’ll be one year deals with the Sabres until he can walk in 2025.

  5. For some reason it’s hard for anybody to have a decent season in Buffalo even though on paper they should be much better.

    Jeff Skinner has been a goal scorer everywhere except the last 2 seasons and is a bitter $9 million pill to swallow and can’t help the dynamic on the team.

    Given the difficulty reaching the cap floor wouldn’t it be an idea to retain salary and trade him for an under achieving player who might need a change of scenery?


    These are random names, different contracts and meant only as a sampler.

    • For the no1 overall pick?

      Think Jack Eichel ask then add to it, lol your not even on the same planet with those names even if they are random.

      • MP,

        Jeff Skinner wasn’t a #1 overall pick, he was drafted by Carolina.

        He was traded to Buffalo, had a big year, signed a huge contract that he hasn’t lived up to at all.

        They can keep him at $9 million/yr for 5 more years or move him for a different asset.

        “Think Jack Eichel ask then add to it” The lineup for Eichel stretches to…….oh it doesn’t.

      • Thought you were talking about Dahlin not skinner.

        Skinner at 5mil is okay at best, no way cheap ass buffalo holds 4mil a year on his contract thats why hes still in buffalo now move on.

      • MP,

        You’re aware that there is a cap floor aren’t you?

        You’re aware that Buffalo has trouble reaching the cap floor even with keeping Eichel on the books aren’t you?

        You’re aware that “cheap ass buffalo” has to meet the cap floor or face “punishment”?

        You’re aware that retaining salary on a bad contract in order to move it is in a GMs tool box?

        You’re aware that among the penalties for not meeting the cap floor are monetary fines, loss of draft picks, results of games played while under the cap not counting in the standings?

        now move on

      • Just to clarify, when you say “results of games played while under the cap not counting in the standings …” I assume you mean IF only Buffalo happened to win those games, otherwise you’re penalizing the opposition for something over which they have no control.

      • George O
        To my understanding the games would be played but treated as a forfeit to the other teams.

      • Mp is one aware mother humper!

      • LOL

        struck a nerve habsfan, i am sadly aware all that you have stated.

        Also all buffalo has to do is keep eichel on the books until hes traded away and they are cap complient.

        Fishing for a way to get of drouin is your motive and i get it but your proposal was a joke.

      • habfan30, makes sense I guess, although you’d have to think those teams in other divisions that would play Buffalo only a couple of times wouldn’t be happy seeing those in Buffalo’s division picking up 4 to 8 more points than them over the course of a season.

        For that reason I would doubt the league would ever let things get that far.

      • George O,

        No team has ever been under the cap so there is no precedent, btw the penalties are the same if you are over.

        He has a NMC, which I’m guessing he’d waive to get out but at $9 million there won’t be any takers.

        My point is that Buffalo can weaponize the cap on itself by retaining a good piece of his contract to reach the cap floor and get a trading partner.

        Skinner at $4 million x 6 is an enticement that some GM might take for example.

  6. Elias freakin’ Pettersson 4. something? Are the world becoming M-A-D?

  7. Someone please tell me why tkachuk is mentioned in the same breath as Mikko Rantanen? tkachuk’s are good hockey players but not in the same class as Mikko, not even close!!!!!! GO AVS!

    • And somebody tell me why Guerin is offering Kaprizov 9 million over multiple years based on a single NHL season.

      And yes, I am aware he won the Calder …

      • Because he’s not 19 and if Billy G doesn’t offer a big contract, this guy makes life suck for Billy G. Buyout penalties kick in next year. Sign your star guy, weather the storm. If I’m Guerin, that’s what I’m doing.

  8. If Pettersson sign for less than 2×6 or 3×7, I will eat my shoe. O´Brien is delusional if he think they can get him at less than 5