The St. Louis Blues have spent the afternoon celebrating at their downtown parade, but soon will have to deal with eight unrestricted free agents and another 12 restricted free agents. While there are few major deals the team must negotiate, there is one unique case in Jordan Binnington, who will be a restricted free agent this summer.
In fact, The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun (subscription required) writes that it’s quite a unique case. The 25-year-old walked onto the scene midway through the season and immediately became a sensation, putting up 1.89 GAA and a .927 save percentage in 32 regular season games and then led the Blues to the Stanley Cup with a 2.46 GAA and a .914 save percentage. All this while making $650K last season, while his backup, Jake Allen, makes $4.35MM.
However, with a half-year of experience, how much does he deserve to get? He has only two years before he becomes an unrestricted free agent, so term is critical as a short-term deal could cause even more problems. However, if he can’t repeat his amazing season, the team could be stuck with him if they sign him to an expensive long-term deal.
- On his 31 Thoughts article, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman notes that there is mutual interest between the Dallas Stars and winger Mats Zuccarello to get a deal done. Dallas acquired Zuccarello at the trade deadline for a 2019 second-round pick and a 2020 conditional third-round pick, which would turn into a first-round pick if Dallas signs the 31-year-old to a new deal. Zuccarello only played two regular-season games after suffering an arm injury after one game, but was an integral piece to the team’s playoff run, when he tallied four goals and 11 points in 13 games. Friedman writes that the negotiations are taking its time, but there is a good chance that Dallas ends up keeping Zuccarello who made quite a difference to the team’s second line.
- The Colorado Avalanche aren’t expected to retain unrestricted goaltender Semyon Varlamov this offseason as the team intends to annoit Philipp Grubauer as the team’s No. 1 starter next season. However, the Denver Post’s Mike Chambers writes the team might choose to sign a veteran backup, even though they have AHL all-star, Pavel Francouz, signed to a one-year, $950K guaranteed deal. Due to his lack of NHL experience (two games), Chambers writes it wouldn’t be surprising if the team goes after veteran Curtis McElhinney or former No. 2 Calvin Pickard for next year.
- Sticking with the Avalanche, A.J. Haefele of BSN Denver reports that the Avalanche will not be buying out anyone this week. That’s not a big surprise, considering the team has few long-term deals with few veteran players making too much money. The team also has $37MM in cap room to work with even though they have to sign several key restricted free agents, including forward Mikko Rantanen, J.T. Compher and Alexander Kerfoot.