The Wild would prefer to work out a medium-term contract with pending RFA winger, Michael Russo of The Athletic suggested on Daily Faceoff’s DFO Rundown (audio link). They’ve already given center Joel Eriksson Ek a max-term deal and offered one up to pending RFA winger Kirill Kaprizov; they don’t have the cap room to long-term with all of them. Fiala is two years away from unrestricted free agency so a four or five-year deal would still buy out some UFA years but would keep the cap hit a little lower in the process. He had a $3MM AAV on his most recent deal and could come close to doubling it this time around. Russo added that he believes Fiala’s name has been dangled as a trade chip for a top-six center which would also explain their hesitance in working on a long-term agreement.
Elsewhere around the Western Conference:
- The Oilers have made an offer to pending unrestricted free agent goaltender Mike Smith, reports Kurt Leavins of the Edmonton Journal. The 39-year-old had quite the bounce-back season in 2020-21, posting a .923 SV% and a 2.31 GAA in 32 games (30 starts) which has certainly boosted his stock heading into free agency. Last fall, he was basically the fallback option but with Edmonton tendering an offer now, it’s clear they value him more this time around. That should be enough to get him more than the $1.5MM base salary he had this season (plus $500K in bonuses). Leavins notes that if a deal does get done, it’s likely that it will come after the expansion draft which means that Stuart Skinner would likely be protected in expansion.
- The Bruins, Rangers, and Capitals are believed to have shown interest in Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko with the Islanders also on the radar, reports Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Of that group, Boston makes the most sense financially as they have the cap space to absorb Tarasenko’s $7.5MM AAV without needing to match money and if they can’t reach an agreement with pending UFA Taylor Hall, they’ll have a need on the wing to fill. The Rangers also have the cap room but their biggest need is down the middle. Washington and the Islanders would need to match money as they’re projected to be capped out by the time they re-sign their own pending free agents which would make a deal more difficult. Tarasenko has requested a trade from St. Louis and is working with the team to facilitate a deal.