There has been a greater emphasis on paying young stars big money early in recent years and it would appear that at least one team owner isn’t a fan of that. Speaking on the Cam and Strick Podcast (audio link) earlier this week, Stars owner Tom Gaglardi lamented the current contract landscape across the league:
A kid in the third year of his entry-level (deal) puts up 40 goals and now he wants to make $7 million. If you want term with that player, he’s going to take you higher than that. … The stars are taking all the money, and the guys in the middle are getting squeezed.
I think there’s a lot of players in the league making a million dollars who are better players, and then the guys who can put the puck in the net are getting too big a piece of the pie. … I don’t like it, but that’s the market, and that’s the way it works.
While not naming him specifically, it’s quite clear that the 40-goal player he’s referencing is Jason Robertson who led the Stars with 41 goals in 74 games last season. If the asking price on a short-term deal is in the $7MM range as Gaglardi suggests, Dallas will almost certainly have to do a bridge deal to get the 23-year-old under contract without having to part with another player. They have a little over $6.3MM in projected room at the moment, per CapFriendly, but that could jump closer to $7.5MM if Anton Khudobin is healthy and is sent to the minors.
Elsewhere in the Central Division:
- There is some uncertainty on the injury front for the Blackhawks with training camps just a few weeks away. GM Kyle Davidson told Ben Pope of the Chicago Sun-Times that they are still waiting for a firm update on the status of forward Jujhar Khaira who underwent back surgery back in February. At the time, he was supposed to be away from hockey activities for 10-12 weeks so the fact that his availability is still in question would suggest that there has been a setback. The 28-year-old had three goals in 27 games in his first season with the Blackhawks. Davidson also indicated that there are a couple of other players that they’re waiting for information on regarding their availability for the start of camp but didn’t identify who those players will be.
- Still with Chicago, the Blackhawks were hoping to sign prospect Artur Kayumov this summer, reports Scott Powers of The Athletic (subscription link). However, the 24-year-old winger opted to remain with Yaroslavl of the KHL citing family reasons as he signed a one-year deal to stay there instead. Kayumov had 19 points in 42 games last season and his agent indicated that there’s a chance he could sign with the Blackhawks following the KHL campaign.