For most of the NHL, training camp is set to start in just a few days. This has put a lot more pressure on teams to hammer out the finishing touches to their off-season and makes sure all is ready for the 2019-20 campaign. With this comes a host of NHL rumours. Last Word on Hockey continues their pursuit to keep fans updated, with this Monday edition of NHL rumours, covering the Nashville Predators, New York Islanders, and Calgary Flames.
Analysis: When Josi was asked about contract negotiation progress he stated, “I don’t know, you don’t think about that too much… Obviously, the longer the summer goes, the more it becomes a topic, I know.”
Of course one must take into consideration that hockey players have personal lives, as well as professional lives. They all have agents who make the contract deals for them.
Vingan notes that last summer, several high-profile players who were in Josi’s position — Drew Doughty, Logan Couture, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Ryan McDonagh — agreed to big-money, long-term deals one year ahead of unrestricted free agency. Ryan Ellis, Josi’s defense partner, did as well, signing an eight-year, $50 million extension in August 2018.
In the piece, Vingan also discusses the difficulty to sign high-end players in the league’s current environment. With so many restricted free agents still unsigned, new contracts are becoming a sort of rarity. While none of the RFAs will directly affect Josi’s new deal, it’s smart for the player and his agent to wait and see if the group of young free agents somehow revolutionize the NHL market. Combined with the fact that Josi is currently on his honeymoon, after recently being wed, the likelihood of the star defenceman signing a new deal before the start of the year is next-to-none.
New York Islanders
Analysis: Barzal seems fine with waiting out a new deal. He said, “it’s something in the back of my mind, obviously. It’s the situation, it’s the reality of it. My contract is coming up this year and there’s a lot of RFAs that are unsigned and it’s kind of been fun watching from the outside not being in it.”
Barzal has become an important cog in the wheel of the Islanders success over the past couple of seasons. This next season may very well determine the kind of contract he will deserve. Barzal helped the surprising Islanders by qualifying them for the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season. He led New York with 62 points (18 goals, 44 assists) in 82 games. That came after he won the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s top rookie in 2017-18. He collected 85 points (22 goals, 63 assists) in 82 games that year.
Obviously, both parties want to get things done. Barzal is certainly happy to be the Islanders star. Now, it’s just a matter of working out the details. NHL rumours will still be flying around until he gets signed.
Analysis: Franklin thinks the Flames have a “good chance” of signing Tkachuk before the regular season commences. Of course, that would mean he will miss training camp. Fellow teammate Johnny Gaudreau suggests that’s not a good plan. Gaudreau remembers a few years ago when he held out and missed training camp, and said it was less than ideal. He wishes the best for his teammate and hopes he can get signed before training camp if at all possible.
The Flames would be hurting without Tkachuk if he were to miss even one regular-season game. The 34 goals and 77 points Tkachuk contributed last season put him fourth on the team in scoring. His toughness and ability to get under an opponent’s skin was also an extremely valuable addition to the team.
General manager Brad Treliving will likely need to figure out how to make some cap space for Tkachuk’s new deal. The team only has $7.76 million in cap space to re-sign both Tkachuk and the soon-to-boom Andrew Mangiapane, who has also been in NHL rumours as of late.
The coming weeks should tell us more about Tkachuk’s status. Be sure to stay tuned here to find out the latest NHL rumours.