With new contracts done for fellow restricted free agent forwards Radek Faksa and Denis Gurianov, the Dallas Stars have just one more name to check off the list. Roope Hintz is the lone remaining RFA for the Stars and after two straight solid seasons to begin his NHL career, the young forward is due a sizeable raise from his entry-level contract. However, Dallas is running low on salary cap space. CapFriendly currently projects the club to have just $3.4MM in space for a 22-man roster. While that currently includes nine defenseman, which is not realistic, swapping a blue liner for another forward from the AHL roster will essentially cancel out. This means the Stars have approximately $3.4MM to offer Hintz in terms of AAV, and that is if they don’t plan to make any other additions to a forward corps that lost Mattias Janmark and has not re-signed Corey Perry. However, GM Jim Nill is not worried. He tells The Dallas News’ Matthew DeFranks that the team expects to get Hintz under contract “in the next week or two.” Nill claims that the two sides have had “great discussions” and are close to an extension. If Hintz signs a short-term deal similar to the two-year, $5.1MM pact signed by Gurianov, the Stars will remain under the cap ceiling and may even have room for another addition. If the two sides instead decide that a long-term deal is the better route, the AAV could climb above that of Faksa’s $3.25MM on his five-year deal, which would put Dallas right up against or over the cap. Nill seems confident that a deal will be made one way or another and that the team can sort out the rest.
- One team that would have to go over the salary cap to sign a key RFA are the St. Louis Blues. In fact, the Blues are already over the cap’s upper limit and are more accurately dealing with the off-season limit on spending over the cap. Yet, defenseman Vince Dunn needs a new contract and right now that seems like an impossibility for St. Louis. However, GM Doug Armstrong believes that it will all work out. Speaking with Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post Dispatch, Armstrong stated that two sides are content to wait until closer to the start of the season to finalize and extension. The team may even need to wait until after the season officially starts, when they can place Vladimir Tarasenko and/or Alex Steen on Long-Term Injured Reserve. Once those players’ cap hits are removed from the calculation, St. Louis will have plenty of room to re-sign Dunn and more. The young rearguard has developed into a reliable top-four option for the Blues and will be due a major pay increase, but that will pale in comparison to the potential $13.25MM vacancy created by Tarasenko and Steen hitting LTIR.
- There may not be much in the hockey news cycle right now, but the Edmonton Oilers made an odd choice to fill the gap by pumping the tires of a player they have yet to re-sign. The Oilers recently released a piece touting the overseas accomplishments of defenseman William Lagesson, who is still seeking a new contract for next season. Lagesson has seven points through nine games with HC Vita Hasten of Sweden’s Allsvenskan and is already looking forward to competing for a regular NHL role this season. Lagesson played in eight games with Edmonton last year, but failed to record a point. He still has a history of solid two-way play in the NCAA and AHL and if Edmonton is agreeing that he is NHL-ready, that could come in handy in contract negotiations. Of course, “NHL-ready” and NHL opportunity are not the same and Lagesson has an uphill battle to crack the Oilers’ roster that already includes five one-way defensemen (not including the injured Oscar Klefbom), a more established RFA in Ethan Bear in need of a new deal, and younger, more elite prospects like Evan Bouchard and Philip Broberg clamoring for a chance.