We’re now coming up on one month since the start of free agency, and two months until the start of the 2022-23 regular season. Teams have mostly completed their offseason business, though a handful still have big issues to solve at some point in the next few weeks.
The arbitration schedule has finished and many of the front offices are slowing down for the rest of the summer in preparation for a long upcoming campaign. That is, except for the teams that still have restricted free agents to sign.
According to CapFriendly, 29 players who received qualifying offers are still unsigned, though that list includes a few New York Islanders minor leaguers who very well could have already agreed to contracts. The Islanders do also have Noah Dobson, who is among the most important names on the list after his breakout 51-point campaign.
Dobson, 22, looks as though he will be a building block for the team through the next decade, and seems positioned for a long-term contract at some point in the near future.
Beyond New York, many eyes are on the Dallas Stars, where Jason Robertson and Jake Oettinger remain unsigned. Other than Miro Heiskanen, there may not be any more important players on the Stars roster than the star forward and emerging goaltender. Both would command hefty cap hits on long-term deals, and given the $10MM in cap space remaining for Dallas, may end up with bridge contracts when things are all said and done.
There are other full-time NHLers among the group too. Alexander Romanov, Kirby Dach, Filip Zadina, Ryan McLeod, and Alex Formenton all played at least 70 games this season for their respective clubs, and are without deals to this point. The full list is below:
Detroit Red Wings
Los Angeles Kings
New York Islanders
San Jose Sharks
Toronto Maple Leafs
Vegas Golden Knights
Of note, most of these players are eligible to sign an offer sheet, if they choose to. Only Romanov and Cates are what are called 10.2(c) players, which are not eligible to negotiate with any team other than their own.
There are also several players like Josef Korenar, who are technically still restricted free agents relative to the NHL but have signed overseas. These rights will be held by their team after issuing qualifying offers but there is no need to list them with the above group.
Any of these restricted free agents must sign a contract before December 1 to be eligible to play in the NHL this season. Though training camp provides a soft deadline, that is the actual threshold that negotiations need to be completed by, or else a player could miss an entire year.