Nichols Notes

Timeline of the shift in Lindholm contract negotiations

March 16, 2016: Anaheim Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm (47) during the NHL regular season game between the New York Rangers and the Anaheim Ducks at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. (Photo by Ric Tapia/ Icon Sportswire)
(Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire)

Defenseman Hampus Lindholm and the Anaheim Ducks have finally ended their contract stalement.

The recent consensus among leading NHL Insiders had been that the gap between his camp and the Anaheim Ducks had been around $250,000 per year on a six-year deal.

Any contract negotiation can turn on a proverbial dime though, and Wednesday proved to be a day where we saw a prophetically tangible shift in a matter of hours.

TSN’s Darren Dreger, while on Winnipeg’s TSN 1290 in the vicinity of 5:50 p.m. ET, was asked if he saw things getting done with Hampus Lindholm in the near future.

“I don’t,” replied Dreger. “Now, that can change hour-by-hour just based on a simple phone call, whether it’s from Bob Murray or Claude Lemieux, the agent. I talked to someone not that long ago – an hour or so ago – who’s in tight in that situation. They said the line in the sand is drawn. What is it, a $250,000 discrepancy? But both sides, they’re dug in.

“Again, maybe it changes with a simple phone call. But right now, it doesn’t appear that’s likely.”

Sometime before 6:00 p.m. ET, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman appeared on NHL Network’s NHL Now, which airs 4-6 p.m. ET.

He was asked why the Ducks had placed Emerson Etem on waivers earlier that day.

“Well, one of the things we’re kind of wondering is every time the Ducks do something, does that mean Hampus Lindholm is getting closer to signing,” began Friedman. “And when a player goes through waivers, if he’s not claimed, you can move him around for 30 days before you have to put him on waivers again.

“If Etem is not claimed, I just think it allows the Ducks to have a bit more flexibility in case they need to add another player to their roster. And that player potentially would be Lindholm, if they can get it signed. It’s not done yet. They’ve moved closer. I think they’re in the trenches a little bit at the end of this particular deal in terms of where they want to be, but there’s no sense the two sides have moved closer together.

“But at the very least, what Anaheim’s doing there is creating a situation where if they need to free up some more cap room, they’re going to have the flexibility to do it if Etem needs to go down to the minors.”

This then brings us to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, who offered this while on NBCSN’s pregame show around 7:15 p.m. ET.

“Keep in mind that these things can change in one phone call,” cautioned McKenzie. “So as of two minutes ago, we can say that this past week has not closed the gap. They were at about a quarter million dollars apart per year on a six-year deal. And while the lines of communication are wide open, it really seems like Anaheim is dug in on getting Lindholm for less than $5.4 million that Buffalo gave to Rasmus Ristolainen. And Hampus Lindholm is really dug in in trying to get a little bit more than what Rasmus Ristolainen got, simply because Ristolainen only had to give up one year of unrestricted free agency on a six-year deal. Lindholm would be giving up two.

“So we’ll stay tuned on this one, but both sides – at this point – really dug in hard.”

Well, stay tuned we did Bob.

And a little over 90 minutes later, during the first intermission of that game on NBCSN (shortly after 9 p.m. ET), damned if the preeminent NHL Insider didn’t drop a little optimism the way of Anaheim’s fans with this informational nugget:

“I can’t sit here and tell you that it’s done by any stretch of the imagination,” McKenzie counseled. “But I do get the sense that discussions have certainly heated up and that if it’s going to get done, it wouldn’t surprise me if it happens in the next 24-48 hours.”

So what did we see shortly after 10 a.m. ET Thursday morning?

Mr. McKenzie. Breaking news. As only he can.

Sources: TSN 1290, NHL Network, NBCSN

For reference: Covering the Insiders

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