The first weekend of August is in the books and that means NHL training camps are just weeks away now. Teams still have a lot to figure out before the start of the season. Not to mention the RFAs who are still on the market that have not signed with their respective teams yet. Today we’ll take a look at some of these, covering NHL rumours surrounding the Tampa Bay Lightning, New Jersey Devils, and Vancouver Canucks.
All NHL rumours are taken from the original source and are subject to change.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Rumour: Stephen Whyno of the Associated Press asked Tampa Bay Lightning Julien BriseBois about the progress in regards to RFA forward Brayden Point and he is very confident that Point will sign a new contract with the Lightning.
Julien BriseBois on RFA Brayden Point:
“Eventually we are very optimistic that we’re going to get a contract done with Brayden Point. That hasn’t wavered. My thoughts haven’t wavered in that area. I’m still very confident we will agree to a contract.”
— Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) August 5, 2019
Analysis: Now that the Lightning has signed defenceman Kevin Shattenkirk to a one-year, $1.75 million deal, they currently have 49 contracts on the books with Point and Adam Erne still needing contracts. The Lightning will have to make a trade or two to get to 50 contracts, which is the allowable amount to have on the books. The Lightning have $9.37 million left in cap space to play with to sign Point.
The logical thing to do is sign Point to a bridge deal. Even though he has earned big money for his performance over the last season, the cap space is not there. The Lightning have already given out big money contracts to four players. Before Nikita Kucherov got his current deal, he took a team-friendly three-year bridge deal. If Point likes playing for the Lightning, and all indications are he does, the best solution is a bridge deal. If Point’s production continues the Lightning have no choice but to pay him on the next contract.
NHL Rumours: New Jersey Devils
Rumour: Mike Morreale of NHL.com spoke with New Jersey Devils assistant GM Tom Fitzgerald about negotiations with Taylor Hall. Fitzgerald indicated that John Hynes and Taylor Hall met and things remain the same.
I asked Devils asst’ GM Tom Fitzgerald if he had an update on Taylor Hall: “I know John Hynes flew up (Monday) and had a great meeting with Taylor in Toronto. So, yeah, things seem to be all well there,” via @NHLdotcom
— Mike Morreale (@mikemorrealeNHL) July 31, 2019
Analysis: From the beginning, Hall has made it clear that he does not want to rush to sign a new contract with the Devils. Now granted this meeting was John Hynes and Hall, not general manager Ray Shero. The two parties are probably going over the game plan for the season. However, it never hurts to have the coach get inside the player’s ear and get some information back to the general manager.
At the end of the season, Hall made it clear the Devils needed to improve this off-season. The Devils have shown to Hall their commitment to winning. Shero improved the team by adding P.K. Subban, Wayne Simmonds, and Nikita Gusev. Not to mention drafting Jack Hughes number one. The Devils have laid their cards on the table in front of Hall. The clock is starting to tick much faster as Hall needs to decide whether or not this is the place for him.
Rumour: Ben Kuzma of Post Media was on TSN 1040 Radio in Vancouver on August 3rd and reported that Brock Boeser‘s camp is looking for an annual average value of $7 million from the Vancouver Canucks. As far as the term goes, Kuzma estimates it could be around four years.
Analysis: It is no surprise to see another RFA taking a page out of the Austin Matthews playbook. As a matter of fact, this is a trend in the NHL. More and more players are looking to take less term, so they can get paid even more on the next contract. Which is similar to what is going on in the NBA. Players are taking four or five-year max term contracts, so they can get paid twice in their prime.
The market for Boeser was set when San Jose Sharks forward Timo Meier signed a four-year, $24 million deal on July 1st. Boeser has shown to be the more consistent player over the past two seasons. Already in 131 games, Boeser has 111 points. Meier needed 159 games to reach 102 points.
However, the Canucks are in the salary cap crunch and this is what could be holding up the deal. According to CapFriendly.com, the Canucks have $5 million in cap space this season. If Boeser does indeed want $7 million per season, the Canucks will need to make some moves in order to get in that price range. Just like with Point, Boeser wants to play for the Canucks.
Maybe the Canucks should take a page from the Toronto Maple Leafs playbook by acquiring contracts to put on LTIR to free up cap space.