One of the top pending UFA forwards is, in fact, expected to go to market – a boon for a weak class that’s only getting weaker. There are currently no talks ongoing between the Vegas Golden Knights and forward Ivan Barbashev, ESPN’s Kevin Weekes says, and he is expected to hit the market on July 1.
The 27-year-old fit in seamlessly with Vegas after a trade deadline deal with the St. Louis Blues, scoring 34 points in 45 combined regular-season and playoff games en route to his second Stanley Cup in five years. The uptick in scoring came with a significant uptick in ice time, and he now enters the free agent market as a bonafide top-six winger in his prime. He could very well double his previous cap hit of $2.25MM on the open market on a long-term deal, something Vegas just doesn’t have the financial certainty at this point to accommodate. His performance this year came on the heels of a breakout 60-point campaign with the Blues in 2021-22.
More notes on this year’s pending free agent class:
- When the Buffalo Sabres re-signed veteran forward Zemgus Girgensons, many wondered what it meant for pending RFA Tyson Jost’s future with the club, given the team’s depth crunch on offense. Today, general manager Kevyn Adams said he’s spoken with Jost’s agent and informed them he’d like to work out an extension, keeping him in the fold as a decent depth scoring option. The team is expected to trade Victor Olofsson this offseason, but Jost could still slip into the role of a healthy scratch if the team does make any notable free agent acquisition. The 25-year-old notched 25 points in 71 games this season.
- It doesn’t appear defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson will be without a home for long. After getting bought out by the Vancouver Canucks last week, Ekman-Larsson’s agent, Kevin Epp, tell’s CHEK’s Rick Dhaliwal that upwards of 10 teams have shown interest in bringing him on, including some contending teams. One team that immediately jumps out as a natural fit for a veteran defenseman on a cheap deal needing some reduced minutes to be successful is the Tampa Bay Lightning. He’d sit on the third pairing behind Victor Hedman and Mikhail Sergachev on their depth chart, and Ekman-Larsson’s situation isn’t all too dissimilar to that of Kevin Shattenkirk a few seasons ago.