The flat salary cap is going to make for a nervous time for many restricted free agents with arbitration this summer in the days leading up to the qualifying offer deadline with some notable names likely to be non-tendered to avoid the risk of being awarded too high of a contract. Blackhawks defenseman Nikita Zadorov is certainly in that group as the 26-year-old is owed a $3.2MM qualifier in his final RFA season. However, he told reporters today including Scott Powers of The Athletic (Twitter link) that he’s hoping to re-sign and that he doesn’t see the cap situation affecting his contract talks. Zadorov has logged nearly 19 minutes a game in his first season with Chicago but unless they’re able to agree on a deal before the deadline, it’s hard to see them being willing to take the risk of him being awarded a bigger contract from an arbitrator that they’re comfortable paying.
Elsewhere in the Central Division:
- The Predators are getting some players back in the lineup to aid in their push to secure the final playoff spot in the Central. Adam Vingan of The Athletic reports (Twitter link) that winger Filip Forsberg, center Brad Richardson, and defenseman Alexandre Carrier have all been activated off IR. Forsberg has missed more than a month and still sits only two points off the team lead, making him a big addition up front. Meanwhile, Richardson has been above average at the faceoff dot and should give them another option on the penalty kill while Carrier is fourth among Nashville defenders in ATOI at just over 20 minutes a night.
- The Blue Jackets will be without winger Patrik Laine tonight against Carolina, notes Aaron Portzline of The Athletic (Twitter link). It has been a tough first year in Columbus for the 23-year-old who has just ten goals and eight assists in 41 games, hardly the type of output they were expecting when they acquired him from Winnipeg back in January.
- Detroit’s farm team in Grand Rapids has announced the signing of winger Kirill Tyutyayev to a one-year, AHL deal for next season. The 20-year-old was a seventh-round pick (190th overall) of the Red Wings back in 2019 and spent this season with Yunost Minsk in Belarus where he picked up 11 goals and 21 assists in 43 regular season games while chipping in with 10 points in 13 playoff contests. Drafted out of Russia, there is no designated time that Detroit has to sign him by; accordingly, this deal gives them an opportunity to give him a look in North America on a short-term commitment compared to an entry-level deal while reserving the ability to retain his NHL rights if he opts to go back overseas for 2022-23.