While contract talks are ongoing with several prominent restricted free agents, it appears that talks will also soon be occurring with arguably the top pending unrestricted free agent forward. Devils GM Ray Shero told NHL.com’s Mike Morreale that he plans to sit down with winger Taylor Hall at some point during training camp to discuss a potential contract extension. While he’s coming off a season that saw him play just 33 games due to a knee injury, he’s only a year removed from winning the Hart Trophy. Between that and the fact that a new market record was recently set for a winger when Artemi Panarin signed for an AAV just over $11.64MM with the Rangers back in July. Hall could certainly find himself in that range if he was to make it to the open market next summer which would represent a significant jump on his current $6MM cap hit.
Elsewhere in the East:
- Veteran winger Jason Pominville won’t be surfacing at training camp with Montreal but the door hasn’t completely closed on a return to Buffalo. GM Jason Botterill told reporters, including Lance Lysowski of The Buffalo News (Twitter link) that they continue to have discussions with the 36-year-old although he also indicated they don’t intend to bring anyone into camp on a tryout deal. Pominville has indicated that his preference is to play somewhere which wouldn’t require uprooting his family which is why Buffalo and Montreal have been mentioned as the likeliest spots for him to play. However, if the Sabres don’t have a spot for him, he’ll either have to reassess his options or potentially call it a career.
- Talks between the Lightning and RFA center Brayden Point to not appear to be progressing well. Joe Smith of The Athletic reports (Twitter link) that a deal between the two sides is still not close. Point is coming off of a career year that saw him pick up 92 points in 79 games. However, Tampa Bay has a well-defined salary structure with Nikita Kucherov and Andrei Vasilevskiy (starting next year) at $9.5MM. That would seemingly represent the ceiling for his earning potential on his contract. While they don’t quite have that much cap space to work with, the Lightning could still conceivably approach the $8MM mark without having to do much in the way of cap-related roster changes.