News and notes concerning the NHL’s remaining unsigned restricted free agents:
- Johnny Gaudreau and the Flames are inching toward a deal, says TSN Insider Darren Dreger. Dreger refrained from saying that a deal is imminent, but that he expects an agreement within the week. The latest reports on negotiations from Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, however, paints a bleaker picture. Friedman interviewed Gaudreau’s agent Lewis Gross and uncovered that the Flames had not talked to Gaudreau’s camp since September 9th. That was around the time that the Calgary Sun’s Eric Francis reported that Gaudreau was looking for something in the $8MM range while the Flames wanted to keep the contract under $6.75MM. It is important to note that Gaudreau lacks leverage in these negotiations because he is not eligible for an offer sheet.
- A deal for Jacob Trouba is no closer to happening, says Darren Dreger on TSN 1040 Vancouver. Winnipeg is still looking for a 22-23 year old left shooting defenseman in return, and are not budging from that position. Dreger points to an ideal trade partner in Detroit, but the lack of that type of defenseman has stymied any potential deal. Expect Winnipeg to wait this out just like Tampa Bay did with Jonathan Drouin.
- TSN’s Bob MacKenzie opined on a Nikita Kucherov offer sheet, stating that of all the unsigned RFAs, Kucherov is the most attractive offer sheet candidate. The Lightning are tight against the cap—both this year and in the future—and may not be able to pay Kucherov market value. MacKenzie gauges Kucherov’s market value at around $6-7MM, but the Lightning only have around $5.5MM in cap space. Even if they move players around to fit a matched contract this year, contracts to impending RFAs Jonathan Drouin, Ondrej Palat, and Tyler Johnson next summer pose serious cap consideration.