The list of Restricted Free Agents has some serious star power on it, despite the calendar turning to August. Between Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Hampus Lindholm, Rasmus Ristolainen, Nikita Kucherov, and Jacob Trouba, there are a handful of elite franchise building blocks without a contract. If you’re keeping count at home, that’s two legit number one defenseman, a possible number one in Trouba, and three high-end first line forwards. Quality players like Ryan Strome and Cody Ceci are also waiting to get contracts, having passed on their qualifying offers.
Here are some other snapshots from around the hockey world:
- On That’s Hockey, TSN’s Gary Lawless reported that things are very quiet between Trouba and the Winnipeg Jets, saying the two sides are far apart on “everything… they’re apart on term, they’re apart on money, they’re apart on usage”. Trouba finds himself behind Dustin Byfuglien and Tyler Myers on the right side, and according to Lawless he feels he should be playing with one of the team’s top defenders. A trade involving Trouba is unlikely according to Lawless.
- Also on TSN, Travis Yost made a strong case for UFA winger Jiri Hudler, arguing that while he’s past his prime scoring days, Hudler still has a very positive effect on his teammates. Hudler raises his team’s shooting percentage by 2.44 per cent when he’s on the ice. That ranks fourth in the NHL since 2010, behind superstars Sidney Crosby, Steven Stamkos, and the now-retired Martin St. Louis. We ranked Hudler 18th on our Top 50 Free Agents list back in June, and estimated a four-year, $16MM contract. Look for him to sign a much less expensive one-year pact with a goal-hungry team to prove he’s still got it.