Weekend Chat: The free agent dams are ready to burst

Yesterday, on Friday leading into a long weekend here in Canada, we got some small bits of free agent signing news. First, more notably, one of the biggest free agents signed a one year deal not long after firing his agent.

The Philadelphia Flyers also signed one of their RFAs to a new contract.

But aside from that, there has been a notable lack of movement from a lot of free agents — both UFAs and RFAs.

On the UFA front, there are still some big fish who have yet to sign. Nazem Kadri is the big one, but there’s also some mid-tier guys like Paul Stastny, Evan Rodrigues, and Sonny Milano waiting for new deals.

On the RFA side of things, there are some very big names still to sign extensions with their teams. Jason Robertson, Jesper Bratt, Andrew Mangiapane, Noah Dobson, Kailer Yamamoto, Martin Necas, Oliver Kylington, Sean Durzi, and of course Rasmus Sandin are among the more noteworthy names still to be signed.

If you’re wondering why there’s so many players still not signed, you just have to look at the salary cap crunch many teams are currently in. Toronto, for example, very obviously has to move out salary of some kind in order to sign Sandin even to a short, one year show-me deal. 10 teams are currently over the regular season cap, and will have to make some moves to get under. Others who are technically under but still have to make a move in order to make space to sign their RFAs, or land the UFA they may want to sign.

Katya’s theory on Kadri has been that he’s always been going to land back in Colorado, but they’re waiting to find someone to take Erik Johnson’s contract to clear up the cap space.

The problem with all of that is, when so many teams are up against the cap, there’s a limit on what teams can actually take on these cap dumps. In fact, it seems like there are more teams looking to clear cap space than there are teams interested and able in taking on those contracts. I’m guessing those teams are asking for a lot more than the cap dumping teams want to pay.

So between the big fish free agents waiting to get the deals they want, and the teams capable of taking on contracts in order for teams to free up space to sign them to those deals, we’re having this Three Stooges effect taking place.

Klingberg cracking from his pursuit of a long term deal and signing for one year may be a sign that in this multi-way game of chicken, some parties are ready to blink and take the best they can get just to make sure they get something. A long weekend here would be a great time for the dam to break and have more signings pour in, imo.

LINKS FROM THE BRANCHES

2022 TLN Prospect Rankings: #16 Curtis Douglas | by TLN

The Leafs may not be making any moves these days, but the Marlies are!

IIHF seeking ‘additional information’ about Hockey Canada cases | by The Athletic

142 players invited to BFL National Women’s Program Selection Camp | by Hockey Canada

Finally, some podcast listening for the long weekend.

Have a great long weekend everyone!

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