We’re now in the dying days of August, less than a month away from the start of the World Cup and training camps. However, there are still 15 restricted free agents remaining, and many of them are not who you would expect to be unsigned at this point. Two NHL teams’ leading scorers, four top-four defensemen, and several other high quality players are still looking for new deals.
Let’s break down the remaining RFAs by division, starting out west in the Pacific Division:
Anaheim Ducks – $7.52MM in cap space, according to Cap Friendly – The Ducks have mostly stood pat this summer after bringing back Randy Carlyle to replace the fired Bruce Boudreau. However, the budget-bound Ducks still have some work to do – their best defenseman, Hampus Lindholm, and World Cup-bound center Rickard Rakell still need new contracts. Lindholm logged the most minutes on the Ducks and put up 28 points as a dependable two-way force. Rakell is behind Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan Kesler on the center depth chart, but finished fourth on the Ducks in points with 43. The Ducks would like to get both signed long term, but will need to get creative to fit it all under their self-imposed budget. Cam Fowler has been the subject of trade rumors throughout the summer as the Ducks ready themselves for these two contracts and next summer’s expansion draft.
Arizona Coyotes – $7.85MM in cap space, according to Cap Friendly – Arizona has been locked in tough negotiations with Tobias Rieder all summer. It’s believed the talented scorer and reliable two-way winger is looking for a contract similar to new Coyotes forward Jamie McGinn, who signed a three-year, $10MM contract. However, new GM John Chayka isn’t budging, and Rieder has threatened to head to the KHL if the two sides can’t come to an agreement.
Calgary Flames – $8.59MM in cap space, according to Cap Friendly – The Flames have been in an unenviable situation this summer, with their two top forwards needing new contracts. GM Brad Treliving locked up center Sean Monahan to a seven-year, $44.625MM contract last week, but has yet to sign the team’s leading scorer Johnny Gaudreau. Gaudreau has said he won’t negotiate during the upcoming World Cup, where he’ll suit up for Team North America. Their camp starts on the long weekend, so there’s just two weeks remaining for Gaudreau and the Flames to put pen to paper. The Flames also have to sign Freddie Hamilton, minor league center and brother of Dougie. Hamilton played four NHL games last season, potting a goal and an assist.