One of the best players currently still without a contract is New Jersey Devils forward Jesper Bratt. With an arbitration date set for August 3rd, which is fast approaching, Devils fans could not be blamed for being a bit nervous about Bratt’s contract status. An arbitration case and a failure to secure a long-term deal this summer could damage Bratt’s relationship with the Devils, and lower his chances of remaining in New Jersey long-term. According to Ryan Novozinsky of NJ.com, an arbitration case looks like where things are headed. Per Novozinsky, contract talks between Bratt and the Devils have “been pretty silent” for weeks, and that the whole situation looks like “another tough negotiation.”
Based on Bratt’s performance last season, it looks like it’s clearly in the Devils’ best interest to get a deal done with their talented winger. Bratt led the Devils with 73 points in 76 games last season, showing great chemistry with face of the franchise Jack Hughes and better goal-scoring touch than he’d shown ever before as a professional. Bratt’s breakout season has left him on strong ground when it comes to negotiations for a new deal, which is likely partially responsible for this stalemate. The Devils have been aggressive in upgrading their team in recent summers, signing players like Dougie Hamilton, Ondrej Palat, and Tomas Tatar to help return them to the playoffs. If the Devils want to solidify their offense for years to come, finding a way to get Bratt’s signature on a long-term deal is in their best interest.
- Nazem Kadri scored 87 points last season and also won the Stanley Cup. Yet as the calendar is set to turn to August, he remains without a contract for next season. According to Elliotte Friedman on the 32 Thoughts podcast, the New York Islanders “are in it” with regard to Kadri, and Kadri’s former team, the Colorado Avalanche, remain interested but are unlikely to move defenseman Samuel Girard in order to create the necessary cap room, as some have speculated they’d do. Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello is notoriously secretive when it comes to his offseason dealings, so it’s possible that the negotiations with Kadri and the Islanders are farther along than anybody truly knows. But based on Friedman’s reporting, we know that they’re at least actively interested in adding Kadri to a center corps that already boasts Mathew Barzal, Brock Nelson, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, and Casey Cizikas.
- When the Matthew Tkachuk trade happened, many wondered why the Florida Panthers, a team looking to compete for a Stanley Cup next season, would trade both Mackenzie Weegar and Jonathan Huberdeau, two elite players. Based on recent reporting, it seems that financial considerations were the prime reason why GM Bill Zito was okay with including them in trades. Per Friedman, Huberdeau was likely looking at a contract similar to Aleksander Barkov’s, around $10MM per year for eight seasons. As for Weegar, Friedman notes that Mikhail Sergachev’s recent $8.5MM AAV deal could be a comparable Weegar is looking to when eyeing his next contract. With major financial commitments already on the books for Barkov, Aaron Ekblad, and Sergei Bobrovsky, among others, it seems that the prospect of expensive extensions for both Huberdeau and Weegar made including them in a deal for Tkachuk all that more palatable for the Panthers.