While the Toronto Maple Leafs know what to expect when it comes to the future contract for Mitch Marner, it isn’t as straightforward for their other two key restricted free agents in Kasperi Kapanen and Andreas Johnsson. Some of the reason for that is that often young forwards with little experience who post an impressive season don’t get rewarded when they hit restricted free agency, and that could easily be the case for the Maple Leafs, according to The Athletic’s Ian Tulloch (subscription required).
Kapanen, who hits restricted free agency for the first time, had an impressive year last season as he put up 20 goals and 44 points as a full-time player. However, before that, he had played a combined 55 games (and tallied just 10 points) over three separate seasons. Johnsson posted very similar numbers as he tallied 20 goals and 43 points in 73 games last season, but has played just 82 games in two years.
There are a number of comparables, however, including Ondrej Kase, Oliver Bjorkstrand, Phillip Danault, Anthony Mantha, Andreas Athanasiou, Teuvo Teravainen and Andre Burakovsky. All of them opted to sign a bridge deal with the hopes to prove to their respective teams that they can score like that consistently, suggesting that each of them may make anywhere from $2.7 million to $3.3 million average annual value if they follow suit.
Of course, the problem could come down to offer sheets as both players would likely be prime candidates to sign offer sheets with other teams that could be closer to $4 million with a less risky compensation (just a second-round pick), which could cause quite a bit of havoc to Toronto’s salary-cap situation.
- Despite multiple rumors that the Sabres are considering dealing defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen, who has never been able to take that next step and become a star like the team thought would happen when he joined the franchise six years ago, TSN’s Darren Dreger (while appearing on WGR 550) said he doesn’t believe that the Sabres will entertain the notion of trading him. Dreger said he doesn’t believe it’s a move Buffalo feels is critical, but general manager Jason Botterill is still open to listening to offers. Of course, one fear of moving Ristolainen is that he could take that next step wherever he is dealt, which the Sabres would prefer to avoid.
- NHL.com’s Eric Russo writes that the Boston Bruins have been without center David Krejci for the past few days as the center has been out with an illness. He missed Thursday’s scrimmage and skipped practice on Saturday although head coach Bruce Cassidy said he hopes to have Krejci back on Sunday. “Precautionary,” said Cassidy. “I suspect we’ll see him tomorrow. That is the plan. If he’s not out tomorrow, now there’s a little bit of worry there. But right now, I believe he’ll be practicing tomorrow.”