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Plenty of key RFAs left to sign

Jul 29, 2013, 5:38 PM EDT

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 16: Derek Stepan #21 of the New York Rangers celebrates a second period goal by teammate Marc Staal #18 in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Final against the New Jersey Devils during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on May 16, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) Getty Images

As we noted in the post about Zach Bogosian signing with the Jets, only two restricted free agents that filed for arbitration remain headed for a hearing — Rangers forward Mats Zuccarello (hearing Wednesday) and Leafs defenseman Mark Fraser (hearing Tuesday).

However, there remains a lengthy list of noteworthy RFAs without arbitration rights that still don’t have a contract for 2013-14 — a list that includes Alex Pietrangelo, Derek StepanAdam HenriqueMarcus Johansson, Nazem Kadri, Cody Franson, Cody Hodgson, Jared Cowan, Magnus Paajarvi, and Chris Tanev.

It’s no huge surprise that any of the above players remain unsigned. There’s still plenty of time before training camp starts and the real poker game begins.

This past season, Montreal defenseman PK Subban didn’t agree to a new contract with the Canadiens until he’d missed four games of the regular season. Subban went on to win the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s best blue-liner.

The year before, it was Drew Doughty and the Los Angeles Kings that engaged in a prolonged negotiation. The Kings, of course, went on to win the Stanley Cup.

That’s not to say every negotiation will end up with the two sides coming to an agreement. The Leafs, for example, could reportedly be forced to trade Franson.

There also remains the possibility of an RFA signing an offer sheet, as Nashville defenseman Shea Weber did last year with the Flyers before the Predators matched.

Granted, offer sheets aren’t typically presented unless there’s a reasonable chance of actually landing the player. And with that in mind, there doesn’t seem to be a prime candidate for one this summer.

But if we had to pick a vulnerable team, it may be the Toronto Maple Leafs, with both Franson and Kadri still unsigned (plus Fraser) and not a ton of cap space with which to work.

The Rangers are another team that’s close to the cap; however, the chances of New York allowing Stepan to get signed away are practically nil.

Related: Blues GM vows to do ‘what is necessary’ to re-sign Pietrangelo

  1. r4n6er - Jul 29, 2013 at 5:55 PM

    Wouldn’t it be funny for Van to go after Hodgson after making a horrible trade (while still needing a center) for an unproductive goon.

    • sunderlanding - Jul 29, 2013 at 5:59 PM

      That’s right make a decision on the trade before the player has even played a complete season in the NHL. Typical short sighted fan. Kassian could turn out to be a great player.

      • r4n6er - Jul 29, 2013 at 6:02 PM

        He played part of a season (trade year) and the whole next season as well?

      • sunderlanding - Jul 29, 2013 at 6:17 PM

        It wasn’t a complete season. There were only 48 games last year in case you forgot.

      • bullwinkle88 - Jul 29, 2013 at 6:16 PM

        I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were you. Looks like Buffalo won this trade big time.

      • sunderlanding - Jul 29, 2013 at 6:18 PM

        As is evident by there place in the standings. So they get a one dimensional center with a bad attitude? Big deal. I’d way rather have a player who can hit and fight, and still put the puck in the net. Sure he’s questionable on defense, but a good coach can teach him that. Just look at Datsyuk.

      • r4n6er - Jul 29, 2013 at 6:18 PM

        That’s right I forgot there was no playoffs, or a Cup awarded this year so it’s like it never happened.

      • sunderlanding - Jul 29, 2013 at 6:19 PM

        They had 4 playoff games, or did you forget that part as well?

      • sunderlanding - Jul 29, 2013 at 6:21 PM

        Futhermore he didn’t play in the playoffs! Maybe you should do some reading before you make another comment.

      • sunderlanding - Jul 29, 2013 at 6:23 PM

        In fact since he’s come to Vancouver he’s played a grand total of 60 games, and that was with a coach who didn’t trust him and would demote or bench him after ever mistake. Not the best way to nuture young talent.

  2. r4n6er - Jul 29, 2013 at 6:19 PM

    If by fight you mean stand there and absorb punches…

  3. r4n6er - Jul 29, 2013 at 6:21 PM

    I think my sarcasim lost on you sunderlanging. What I mean is even though it is 48 games it counts as a season.

    • sunderlanding - Jul 29, 2013 at 6:28 PM

      The kid has played 60 games with the Canucks. Sure it counts as a season for the team, but when you want to grade someones worth on the team you should give them more than 60 games in an unstable role. Especially if they’re young.

  4. Tyler - Jul 30, 2013 at 12:19 PM

    “Subban went on to win the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s best blue-liner.”

    Not sure I’d agree with that statement. The Norris has turned into the NHL’s highest point producing blue-liner. Even then, he had the same amount of points as Letang despite playing 7 more games.

    Suter would be my choice for the NHL’s best blue-liner last year.

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