It doesn’t seem like contract talks are progressing much between the Blue Jackets and their two remaining restricted free agents. In a reader chat, Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch noted that it could take until next month before they reach agreements with forwards Alexander Wennberg and Josh Anderson. He was quick to add that this isn’t a sign that discussions are turning sour but it would appear that there’s still a notable gap to bridge.
Wennberg’s case is a very interesting one. He’s coming off a season where he finished second in team scoring and has established himself as a top liner. Several years ago, they signed Ryan Johansen in a similar situation to a three-year, $12MM deal. That could be somewhat of a benchmark for a contract here but the Blue Jackets have more than $12MM in cap space to work with per CapFriendly which will give them the financial flexibility to go for a longer-term, bigger money contract if they so desire. Having both options available to them is likely playing a part in the talks taking longer as well considering how different the money will be between short-and-long-term deals.
- The Flyers have agreed to terms on a one-year, two-way deal with Taylor Leier, TVA Sports’ Renaud Lavoie reports (Twitter link). The contract is reportedly worth $807K which suggests that he simply accepted their qualifying offer. Leier collected a goal and an assist in ten games with Philadelphia this past season while adding 37 points (14-23-37) in 48 games with their AHL affiliate in Lehigh Valley.
- Winger Justin Auger has accepted his qualifying offer from the Kings according to CapFriendly (via Twitter). The contract will pay the league minimum $650K at the NHL level and $60K in the minors. The 23-year-old is coming off a down season where he recorded just 20 points (11-9-20) in 61 games with Ontario of the AHL.
- Unrestricted free agent defenseman Jaime Sifers, who was most recently under contract with Columbus, has signed a two-year minor league deal with Utica (affiliate of the Canucks), the AHL team announced. Sifers spent the last three years with the AHL affiliates for the Jackets and collected 20 points (6-14-20) in 74 regular season games. He also has 37 games of NHL experience under his belt between Toronto and Minnesota.