Washington’s salary cap situation doesn’t leave them a lot of wiggle room to work with this summer. Restricted free agent winger Andre Burakovsky is arguably their most intriguing player in need of a new contract. His qualifying offer checks in at $3.25MM which is on the pricey side for a forward who has scored a dozen goals in each of the last three seasons but at the same time, he’s only 24 and has shown flashes of considerable upside. Despite that, NBC Sports Washington’s J.J. Regan posits that their $1.15MM bonus overage from 2018-19 (bonuses for fellow RFA Jakub Vrana and UFA blueliner Brooks Orpik) could ultimately force Brian MacLellan to non-tender him next month. It’s rare that a player with some track record of NHL success becomes available on the open market so if he was to become available, there would undoubtedly be considerable interest in him despite his struggles.
Elsewhere out East:
- Contract talks between the Sabres and winger Jeff Skinner are expected to resume this week at the Draft Combine, reports Pierre LeBrun of TSN and The Athletic (Twitter link). Talks between the two sides have gone back several months but they’ve yet to find an agreement just yet. Complicating matters is that Skinner had a torrid start that saw him score 30 goals in his first 44 games. However, he had just ten in 38 contests the rest of the way. It’s plausible to think that Skinner will want to be paid for reaching the 40-goal mark while Buffalo GM Jason Botterill will be looking for a cheaper deal given his late struggles and concussion history.
- With Brock Nelson now locked up for six more years, the Islanders will likely shift their focus to captain Anders Lee, notes Brett Cyrgalis of the New York Post. There is mutual interest in getting a deal done but the issue continues to be the term of the deal. The winger will turn 29 in July so a near max-term pact will certainly carry some risk; Cyrgalis suggests the Isles may not want to go more than four years. However, he’s a big part of their attack and one of the top wingers on the open market so GM Lou Lamoriello will likely have to compromise and give him a longer-term contract to keep Lee in the fold.