The Edmonton Oilers got their big name restricted free agent locked up when they signed Leon Draisaitl to an eight-year, $68MM contract yesterday and perhaps it will start a run on RFA signings. According to Aaron Portzline of The Athletic, the Columbus Blue Jackets have had contact with Alexander Wennberg and Josh Anderson this week to start up negotiations again. Portzline’s quick to point out that this shouldn’t be misconstrued as progress, but the two sides hadn’t spoken in weeks.
Wennberg stands as probably the most important RFA still on the market outside of David Pastrnak in Boston, as he’s coming off a 59-point season in which he proved that he can be a #1 center. His 46 assists tied for 15th in the league, and he developed into one of the most dangerous powerplay weapons in the league. His playmaking ability is unmatched on the Blue Jackets, and heading into his age-23 season should get a hefty raise.
Anderson on the other hand is a sort of lineup tweener, who likely shouldn’t be played in your top-6 but still scored 17 goals last year. His production in limited minutes was a huge part of the Blue Jackets’ success but they have to be wary of paying for a possible career-high. Those 17 tallies came on an impressive 14.3% shooting percentage and could easily regress back to 10-15 this year. While he does offer physicality and versatility, Anderson doesn’t have high-end creativity or skill. While that won’t stop him from being an integral part this season, the Blue Jackets have some young players to pay in the next few years and can’t afford to tie up too much capital in a bottom six winger.