Recently, we covered how Filip Forsberg and the Nashville Predators’ negotiations on a new contract had been difficult, with both sides still “far apart” in terms of what a potential extension would look like. A week later, the situation remains uncertain. TSN’s Darren Dreger reported on the status of the negotiations today, clarifying that while the gap between the team and player is said to be less than $1MM per year, there still has not been “a lot of progress” on finalizing a deal. With the eight-year term already agreed upon, that relatively small gap in the negotiation could cause the situation to drag on until potentially even the start of free agency.
With the gap under $1MM, it’ll be extremely interesting to see if Forsberg remains a Predator. He is the team’s all-time leading goal scorer and among their most important players. GM David Poile is a firm negotiator, and the Predators’ reluctance to give n0-trade protection on deals has been well-publicized. So, with that reputation in mind, it’s fair to wonder if Poile will let that six-figure gap be the reason Forsberg departs Nashville. From most fans’ perspectives, it seems like an easy question: the small bump in cost is worth avoiding the trouble of finding a replacement player. But to cement a deal with the long-tenured Poile, who is no stranger to letting important players leave in free agency, perhaps Forsberg will be the one who will need to compromise.
Now, for some other notes from across the NHL’s Western Conference:
- While J.T. Miller has been the name most frequently mentioned in trade rumors, Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat actually has an identical contract situation, as he too will become an unrestricted free agent next summer. But unlike Miller, Horvat probably won’t be on the move anytime soon, hence his absence in the rumor mill. Per Thomas Drance of The Athletic (subscription link), the Canucks are “completely invested” in retaining Horvat beyond the expiry of his current contract. It’s easy to see why, as Horvat is among the team’s most important leaders and is still a highly effective on-ice talent. The 27-year-old pivot crossed the 30-goal plateau last year for the first time in his career and should be in line for a moderate raise from his current $5.5MM cap hit.
- The Edmonton Oilers finalized their coaching situation when they removed the interim tag from coach Jay Woodcroft’s job title. Now, it seems that Woodcroft’s full coaching staff is taking shape. Per Dreger, Oilers assistant Brian Wiseman is “moving on” from the team, while fellow coaches Dave Manson and Glen Gulutzan are expected to stay in Edmonton. Wiseman is a former twelfth-round pick who has been an assistant coach in Edmonton for three seasons. Before then, he was part of the coaching staff at his alma mater, the University of Michigan. While a return to the college ranks is possible, Wiseman will certainly have options, as Dreger reports that he is set to have “strong interest” from a “variety of teams.”