As we head towards August, the Anaheim Ducks still have two key restricted free agents to re-sign. One of those is forward Rickard Rakell, who is coming off a career year.
Rakell’s agent, Peter Wallen spoke with Eric Stephens of the OC Register regarding negotiations and said that “We are talking and I think we will find common ground for a solid agreement as I feel both parties seem to want that to happen very much”.
Rakell is coming off his entry-level contract and did not have any arbitration rights this offseason. He played in 72 games with the Ducks last season, collecting 20 goals and 23 assists, setting career highs in both categories. He also saw a significant increase in ice time from 12:34 per game in 2014-15 to 16:04 last year.
Anaheim currently has just over $8.4MM in cap space according to Cap Friendly but also still have defenseman Hampus Lindholm to re-sign. There may not enough space to sign both to long-term contracts so one of the two may be forced into taking a shorter-term bridge deal as a result.
If they opt for a long-term deal, Rakell is comparable to Hurricanes forward Victor Rask, who inked a six year, $24MM contract earlier this offseason. A deal like that would buy out all of the remaining RFA years plus a pair of UFA-eligible seasons. If they go the bridge route though, his stats the last couple of seasons are similar to San Jose’s Tomas Hertl, who signed a two year, $6MM pact late last month. Going that route would likely allow them to be able to sign Lindholm on a long-term contract this summer but would likely result in Rakell receiving a higher AAV down the road.
The preseason is still nearly two months away so there’s no rush to get something done with Rakell or Lindholm but if GM Bob Murray wants to make any more moves this offseason, he’ll likely need to get contracts done with both players to see how much cap and budget space he has left to work with.