Nearly a month into free agency, several notable UFAs remain unsigned. One agent suggested to Adam Proteau of The Hockey News that it might be a strategy on their part. At this point, not many teams have cap space to offer contracts that are well above the minimum salary. However, if they wait until training camp or even early in the season when injuries arise, those teams might be able to use LTIR and potentially offer a higher salary than they’d be able to now. That approach certainly carries some risk but in an open market that has been tighter than expected for some veterans this summer, it could work out in the end for one or two of them if that is the route they’re taking.
Elsewhere around the NHL:
- With Detroit adding Ben Chiarot, Olli Maatta, Robert Hagg, and the injured Mark Pysyk this offseason, Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News pegs blueliner Jordan Oesterle as someone whose roster spot for next season could be in question. The 30-year-old played a limited role last season as he had eight points in 45 games while averaging a little over 18 minutes a night. With a $1.35MM AAV, that’s on the more expensive end for depth defenders although if the Red Wings were to waive him and send him down if he cleared, they’d be able to clear all but $225K off their cap for next season.
- With the Blues having some openings at the bottom of their roster, Jeremy Rutherford of The Athletic suggests (subscription link) that there’s a chance that Zachary Bolduc could break camp with St. Louis to start next season. The 2021 first-round pick is coming off a dominant year with Quebec of the QMJHL where he scored 55 goals and added 44 assists in 65 games. That could be enough to at least get him a nine-game look like Jake Neighbours received a year ago.