Chat of the Weekend: Free agent roadblocks are ready to burst

Yesterday, Friday before a long weekend here in Canada, we had some free agent signing news. First, most notably, one of the biggest free agents signed a one-year deal shortly after firing his agent.

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

But other than that, there has been a noticeable lack of movement from many free agents – both UFAs and RFAs.

On the UFA front, there are still a few big fish that haven’t signed yet. Nazem Kadri is the big one, but there are also mid-level guys like Paul Stastny, Evan Rodrigues and Sonny Milano waiting for new offers.

On the FRG side, there are still very big names 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 some of the most notable names yet to be signed.

If you’re wondering why there are still so many players still unsigned, just look at the salary cap crunch that many teams currently find themselves in. Toronto, for example, very obviously needs to withdraw some salary in order to sign Sandin to even a short one-year contract. 10 teams are currently over the regular season cap and will need to take a few steps to get under. Others who are technically under but still need to make a move in order to make room to sign their RFAs, or land the UFA they may want to sign.

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

The problem with all of this is that when so many teams are facing the cap, there’s a limit to what teams can actually take on those cap dumps. In fact, it looks like there are more teams looking to free up space than there are teams interested and able to accept these contracts. I guess these teams are asking a lot more than the cap dumping teams are willing to pay.

So between big free agents waiting to get the deals they want and teams being able to make contracts so teams free up space to sign them for those deals, we have this Three Stooges effect.

Klingberg cracking down on his pursuit of a long-term deal and signing for a year may be a sign that in this multi-way game of chicken, some parties are willing to blink and do their best just to make sure that they get Something. A long weekend here would be a good time for the dam to break and more signings to pour in, imo.


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Finally, some podcast listening for the long weekend.

Have a nice long weekend everyone!

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