Fresh off his Olympic work assignment, Sportsnet NHL Insider Elliotte Friedman dove back into the hockey scene on Monday evening with an appearance on NHL Network that covered the status of some of the top restricted free agents.
Sean Monahan’s name was recently removed from that list, with the Flames having signed him to a seven-year, $44.625 million contract.
“I think it’s what Calgary wanted,” said Friedman. “Again, Monahan does very well too. Both sides make out really well in terms of this. I think we’ve seen the market get set. Nathan MacKinnon signed for 6.3. Barkov was in the high 5s. Mark Scheifele – who signed for eight years, not seven – was in the low 6s.
“So I think if you look at Monahan, he was the last guy sign. He signs for a bit more than some of his peers did. So it’s a victory for him in terms of that, but it’s a victory for the Flames. They get the certainty. They get the number done. And I’m sure Calgary is going to look at it and say, ‘In a few years, if we have Monahan done for that number, we’re going to be pretty happy.’ It’s another contract they don’t have to battle over for a long time. Win-win.”
The Flames still need to get Johnny Gaudreau’s name on a contract though.
“I’m sure that Calgary would like to get Gaudreau in in that area too, but I think Gaudreau is asking higher.” noted Friedman. “I do think we’re looking at a situation where if you take a look at Gaudreau and what he’s done in the first couple of years in the league, there aren’t a lot of comparables for it. And that’s kind of what we’re looking at here. We’ve got a situation where his offensive numbers – you really struggle to find somebody who would come in at his level of experience and do what he’s done in the first couple of years.
“So I think he’s looking higher. I think he’s looking for term. I think the team is looking for term. I think what Gaudreau is probably saying is, ‘Well, if you want to do term, it’s got to be a pretty big number.’ I think they’ve talked a little bit in the last couple of days since Monahan was signed. Nobody is really discussing it, but I’ve got no information that anything is really close.
“I think it’s going to be interesting because Gaudreau has basically said that once he shows up at the World Cup training camp on September 4, there’ll be no negotiations until after the tournament. Now, that doesn’t mean the agent and the team can’t talk, but he doesn’t want it during the event. So it’ll be interesting to see with a soft deadline of September 4 if anything does happen there.”
News has been quiet on the contract front with Nikita Kucherov and the Tampa Bay Lightning, as tends to be the case when this particular general manager is involved.
“As you said, one thing we’ve learned in the last six months is don’t cross Steve Yzerman, right?” said Friedman. “So I don’t think the agent, who is Scott Greenspun, wants to do that. I’ve tried to reach out a couple of times. He’s been very quiet. He knows who he’s negotiating with. He knows any kind of leaks are a bad idea.
“I think what you’ve got there is you’ve got a situation where Tampa’s unrestricted free agents to be, Stamkos and Hedman, have kind of set the high bar. I’m really curious to see how close Tampa is going to get to that if they want to go long-term with Kucherov. I think he’s a guy who you’re looking at when he hits unrestricted free agency, he’s going to have a big number. I think Tampa is going to do with him the same thing they kind of did with Hedman and Stamkos. They’re going to say, ‘Look, this is where we’re looking at and this is where it’s going to be.’ I just think one thing they’ve proven is that’s the way they’re going to go, and that’s the way it’s going to be for Kucherov at this particular time.
“The other thing I did hear, though, was that Tampa has basically said apparently for a year, they can do a lot of different things. It’s a year from now where everything is really going to get tight because that’s when Hedman’s new salary officially kicks in.”
The Anaheim Ducks still have Hampus Lindholm and Rickard Rakell unsigned.
“I haven’t heard a lot about Rakell,” admitted Friedman. “I know that they were really hoping that that one would close down. I’m a little bit surprised that one hasn’t gotten done yet. It’s hard for me to say if that’s a bad sign, but I am a little bit surprised about that one.
“The Lindholm one, I’ve heard for a while now that that one was tricky. And that there were a lot of different variables there, including a change in agent that we saw last season. They were able to get one of those deals done with the change of agent, but it ended up being a trade to Toronto, right? Frederik Andersen. So I think it says to me that they’re still having a lot of issues trying to pull it down. And again, at this point in time, I’ve got no information that anything is close.
“The only other one I’ve heard on at this point in time is Trouba for Winnipeg. Again, it’s been one that we’ve all been kind of waiting to happen. The one thing I can say about him is that he apparently is going to play in the World Cup, just like Gaudreau, whether he has a contract or not. That he’s got the extra insurance and he’s going to play, even if he hasn’t signed with the Jets.”
Source: NHL Network/ Transcript: Nichols