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Brady Tkachuk, Elias Pettersson and three other 2021-22 NHL RFAs still unsigned


William Nylander dragged things into the 11th hour in December 2018.

In 2019, it was a group of guys – including Lightning’s Brayden Point, Avalanche’s Mikko Rantanen, Flames’ Matthew Tkachuk and Jets duo Kyle Connor and Patrik Laine – who waited for their teammates to have a few miles of camp. training under their skates.

In January, Islanders star Mathew Barzal waited until the boys had a few skates before hitting the ice to join the day before his new contract was officially announced.

Now, on the eve of NHL training camps, there is a new generation of talented restricted free agents still waiting to sign the dotted line, leaving a number of fan bases uneasy. Two guys who were slated to make this list signed new contracts on Tuesday: Calder 2021 Trophy winner Kirill Kaprizov and the Wild agreed to a five-year, $ 45 million contract, and the Islanders and Kieffer Bellows have (apparently) shook hands on a new deal. Will the others follow suit before the skates hit the ice?

Here are the top five that could miss a prep for the 2021-22 season – and beyond.

Note: Cap figures courtesy of CapFriendly.

Five unsigned NHL 2021-22 calls for tenders

Buffalo Sabers: Rasmus Dahlin

As if the Sabers don’t have enough to worry about (see: Jack Eichel), they’re about to head to the first camp under coach Don Granato without their top defenseman. First overall pick in 2018, Dahlin deserves a solid pay raise despite a season that has seen him struggle a bit; his points production went from 40 points in 59 games in 2019-2020 to 23 points in 56 games last season with a stunning plus / minus (-36).

But here’s the thing: Dahlin is still a kid at 21, and the silver lining is there. Some stability behind the bench will surely help his game grow – while surrounded by a roster designed to compete. Why he’s unsigned is intriguing, as the Sabers certainly have the space to do it: they’re actually about $ 2.3 million below the cap – so there may be more than that. the money in this story.

PLUS: UFA, RFA of each team

Ottawa Senators: Brady Tkachuk

Brady Tkachuk goes to Tkachuk, at least according to his older brother Matthew.

“It’s a family business. No one wants to deal with the Tkachuk in this area. But we’re doing it in committee, ”the Flames star told Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek in their 31 Thoughts podcast.

“He could shoot a classic Tkachuk right now. Daddy (Keith) resisted, Matthew resisted, and Brady looks like he’s on his way right now. So I hope it can be understood here. But there’s just a lot of bogus stuff out there about it. They are not too close. “

Ouch. This is not good news for Senators fans about which guy they want to sport the “C”.

Tkachuk has just completed a year where he amassed 36 points (17 goals, 19 assists) in 56 games, was a point guard for a tough young team to face and was a notorious pest. He has reportedly hit the ice in Michigan as he waits for a new deal that is expected to be in the range of a few million dollars (there are rumors that he has offered a deal in the order of $ 8 million. and, based on Kaprizov’s salary, it seems fair). The money should be there for an Ottawa team that has yet to hit the cap.

Blues de Saint-Louis: Robert Thomas

The Blues forward may only be 22, but he already has a dazzled Stanley Cup ring in his hand. So when you see the Blues have, oh, around $ 781,151 to spend (plus or minus $ 1.5 million with a little roster finagling), it’s fair to say this one can take a while. time. Rumors have been circulating for months that Vladimir Tarasenko has asked the Saint-Louis team to “show me” the door, which could open the money ($ 7.5 million AAV owed to the Russian winger) to sign Thomas.

He’s a solid third-row center who has yet to reach his potential after missing out on time due to injury (12 points in 33 games in 2021). The biggest question mark is, how much is he waiting for? Athletic’s Jeremy Rutherford reported that Thomas thinks he’s worth more than the team offers, especially after Jordan Kyrou got $ 2.8 million AAV.

MORE: Where the best available UFAs have signed for the 2021-22 season

Vancouver Canucks: Quinn Hughes and Elias Pettersson

You’d think the Canucks’ Twitter would be buzzing with their two young stars skating in Michigan and not Vancouver (by Athletics), But they are not – why? Because everyone saw it coming.

The Canucks’ salary cap situation was, is, and will be predictably, delicate, to say the least. As of September 21, CapFriendly had the squad at just over $ 10.6 million in projected ceiling space – with a potential of up to $ 16 million – and both players have won contracts well in excess of $ 16 million. $ 5 million each. While Hughes may not be a lock on the six-year, $ 9 million AAV deal that Colorado’s Cale Makar secured this summer, he is considering a significant upgrade from his entry-level deal. range. Pettersson, the 2019 Calder Trophy winner, missed 30 games last season but is a franchise center player at just 22.

What could be the delay? It may be more than money.

“It’s a slow play from Jim Benning, the owner and the Vancouver Canucks,” TSN insider Darren Dreger said on “Sekeres and Price” Friday. “The term is important here. I’m sure the Vancouver Canucks would like these two guys in a two to three year range, but the players aren’t comfortable with that. The long run won’t work for both, largely because of the cap situation. From a player’s perspective, the sweet spot is in a four to six year range. I don’t feel like the conversations I’ve had today encourage either of these guys to be at camp. “


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