At the beginning of free agency on July 1st, there were 126 restricted free agents. As we approach the middle of August, that number is down to just 20. Here is a look at who still needs to be re-signed. This list excludes RFA’s that have already signed a contract overseas or a minor league deal.
Anaheim: C/RW Rickard Rakell, D Hampus Lindholm
Arizona: RW/LW Tobias Rieder
Buffalo: C/LW Zemgus Girgensons, D Rasmus Ristolainen
Calgary: LW Johnny Gaudreau, C Freddie Hamilton, C Sean Monahan, D Tyler Wotherspoon
Dallas: RW Valeri Nichushkin
Detroit: C Louis-Marc Aubry, D Ryan Sproul
Los Angeles: None
Nashville: D Stefan Elliott
New Jersey: None
NY Islanders: G Christopher Gibson, C Ryan Strome
NY Rangers: None
Ottawa: D Cody Ceci
San Jose: None
St. Louis: None
Tampa Bay: RW Nikita Kucherov, D Nikita Nesterov
Washington: D Dmitry Orlov
Winnipeg: D Jacob Trouba
At this point, the holdups for many of these deals can be classified into three categories: 1) Star players working on long-term deals, 2) Good players that are likely to sign short-term ‘bridge’ contracts, and 3) Depth players who are likely looking for the right balance of NHL vs AHL pay.
The deadline for signing restricted free agents is still three and a half months from now (they must be signed by 4:00pm CST on December 1st). However, the players on this list that will be participating in next month’s World Cup of Hockey may want to get their deals done before the tournament starts so that talks aren’t being held during the event. For the rest, training camps don’t open for another month so mid-September is really the first notable deadline to get something done if the hope is to have the player signed, sealed, and delivered before the first day of camp.