While anything can change in an instant, it appears as though Rickard Rakell is no closer to a deal with the Anaheim Ducks. Julie Stewart-Binks of FOX Sports caught up with Rakell’s agent, who told her the two sides are still “not looking at things the same way”. This comes just days after a report that said no progress had been made in negotiations, despite both sides wanting a long-term deal done before the season starts.
Rakell, as discussed at length on this site, is one of the remaining restricted free agents without a contract for the upcoming season. While Johnny Gaudreau signed with the Flames today, and Nikita Kucherov seems poised to do the same with the Lightning when he arrives in North America, both Rakell and fellow RFA Hampus Lindholm remain unsigned by the Ducks.
While the team has almost $8.5MM in cap space at the moment, that probably isn’t enough for long-term deals for both players. Likely, the negotiations for the two players are linked, with the Ducks trying their best to get both under contract for as many years as possible without committing more dollars than they have at the moment. Since the team needs to be cap-compliant tomorrow, the two deals would need to come in under that $8.5MM to have them ready for the start of the regular season.
Rakell, 23, put up 43 points last season in what some would consider a mini-breakout. His goal scoring raised from nine in 2014-15 to twenty last year, and he took over as the number two center on the team, a role likely being held open for him until he comes to an agreement. With the Ducks poised for another deep run due to their strong defense corps and veteran first line, it would be a real shame to see the two players hold out for any length of time. After assuming all of Jonathan Bernier’s $4.15MM contract from the Maple Leafs in a trade earlier this summer, the team looks to have handcuffed itself when it comes to two of their most important pieces.