Training camps will open in just a few weeks and some teams could be without a top star right off the bat as the restricted free agent situation remains a game of cat and mouse. Agents are waiting for someone, anyone, to make the first move.
Colin White, Jacob Trouba, Will Butcher and David Rittich have solidified their deals, but Mitch Marner, Brayden Point, Zach Werenski and Patrik Laine, among others, still remain on the market. Let’s take a look at the remaining RFAs for all teams and what the situations look like heading into the final weeks of summer:
RFAs: Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo
The Bruins have had a fairly quiet off-season, primarily addressing depth needs. McAvoy and Carlo were two of the top RFA defensemen heading into the summer and remain unsigned. McAvoy turned down a reported long-term extension earlier in the summer, while not much has come out of Carlo’s situation, but look for a bridge deal to prove what he can do long-term.
RFAs: Matthew Tkachuk and Andrew Mangiapane
Step 1: Sign Sam Bennett and David Rittich. Done. Next? Sign Tkachuk. He’s coming off a 34-goal, 77-point season and should get a long-term deal with a cap hit upwards of $8 million. Mangiapane’s signing will come cheap – less than $2 million – and he can chip in offense and bring energy to a strong bottom six.
RFAs: Saku Maenalanen and Roland McKeown
With Sebastian Aho signed, the Hurricanes haven’t had much to worry about this summer. McKeown looks destined for another year in the AHL and won’t require a big salary, while Saku Maenalanen can be had for under a million as a bottom-six forward.
RFAs: Brendan Perlini
Perlini had a strong run with the Blackhawks after his acquisition from the Arizona Coyotes early in the season, scoring 12 goals and 15 points in 46 games. A safe prediction is a two-year deal at $2 million a season that adds additional scoring to the third line.
RFAs: Mikko Rantanen
Avs fans have a reason to be anxious: Rantanen had a fantastic 87-point season in Denver and Colorado has enough momentum to be a true Stanley Cup contender this season. Look for him to sign an eight-year deal worth $9.5-million per year.
COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS
RFAs: Zachary Werenski
Werenski isn’t far from becoming a Norris Trophy contender and his next contract should be a lucrative ordeal. What’s the hold-up? Are they going to give the 21-year-old a bridge deal? Maybe, but he’s due for a big payday.
RFAs: Julius Honka
Honka is in need of a new home after struggling to be a full-time NHLer over the past few years. He’s not worth a lot right now, but if they can sign him for around $2 million and ship him out during the regular season, the Stars could come out as winners out of this ordeal.
RFAs: Jesse Puljujarvi
Sick of the Puljujarvi situation this summer? You’re not alone. It’s clear his future isn’t in Edmonton and he wants a chance at a top-six somewhere in the NHL. It’s unlikely that’s going to be with the Oilers.
RFAs: Denis Malgin
Malgin saw his production dip from 22 points in 2017-18 to 16 this past season. He’s a utility forward who can be thrown into different situations and he’ll be paid accordingly.
LOS ANGELES KINGS
RFASs: Adrian Kempe
It’s not crazy to think Kempe can be a 35-point guy every season. He saw his production dip from 37 points to 28 in 2018-19. He did have a great scoring stretch in February but consistency is an issue. He’s still worth at least $2 million.
RFAs: Kevin Fiala and Louis Belpedio
Fiala saw his point total drop from 48 with the Predators in 2017-18 to 39 this past season, but there’s a glimmer of hope heading into the new campaign. Fiala, who was dealt to the Wild late last season, is a good candidate for a short-term show-me deal around $3 million per season.
NEW JERSEY DEVILS
RFAs: Pavel Zacha
Once a top power forward in major junior, Zacha has produced a mid-20s point total in each of his three NHL seasons. Zacha can still become a good bottom-six forward who flirts with 15 goals, but he isn’t worth more than $2 million a year.
NEW YORK ISLANDERS
RFAs: Anthony Beauvillier
Beauvillier isn’t going to blow the Islanders away with good offensive numbers, but 20 goals per season? He should be able to meet that over the next few seasons. Two years at $3.5 million is a good starting point.
NEW YORK RANGERS
RFAs: Anthony DeAngelo and Brendan Lemieux
Jacob Trouba’s locked up, so next on the docket is DeAngelo. A two-year bridge deal at $3 million will be good for both sides and give him arbitration rights upon the deal’s expiration. Lemieux is still a depth forward, but he can contribute. A $2-million cap hit sounds desirable.
RFAs: Ivan Provorov and Travis Konecny
Even though he struggled this past season compared to in 2017-18 when he played like a true No. 1 defender, Provorov is likely waiting to see what McAvoy and Werenski get before finalizing his deal. Konecny has scored 24 goals in each of the past two seasons and fell just short of 50 points in both. Philly should get him long-term while they can – and at a team-friendly rate – before he really breaks out.
RFAs: Marcus Pettersson
Pettersson was a nice pickup back in December and factors in as a top-four defender. Anything under $2.5 million is a steal, especially on a team with older, expensive defensemen such as Erik Gudbranson and Jack Johnson.
ST. LOUIS BLUES
RFAs: Ivan Barbashev
Once a promising young scoring prospect, Barbashev has emerged as a good fourth-line center who can be counted on to score around 15 goals. He’ll be cheap in the $1-million range.
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING
RFAs: Brayden Point
Point is due a monster raise, and Tampa Bay is going to have to pay up to keep him on the roster. They’ll have to make some space to pay the $9 million-plus it’s going to take to keep him there. They’ve already moved a few pieces to make it happen. Just sign the deal already.
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS
RFAs: Mitch Marner
We’ll just leave this here.
RFAs: Brock Boeser
Boeser reportedly wants a four-year deal worth $7 million a season? Sign it, seal it and don’t ask any questions.
VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS
RFAs: Jimmy Schuldt
Schuldt debuted with Vegas after signing out of the NCAA and could step right into the lineup once he signs a new deal. He’s set to participate in the Golden Knights’ rookie camp in September, so it’ll be interesting to see what his contract situation looks like then.
RFAs: Kyle Connor, Patrik Laine, Eric Comrie
The lone team with three RFAs remaining (and two stars), the Jets have work to do over the next few weeks. Both Connor and Laine should get five or six years around the $7 million mark, while Comrie might not get much more than league minimum after falling down Winnipeg’s depth chart.
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