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Niskanen’s agent is confident he can get 7-year deal for ‘premier defenseman in the free agent market’

Jun 30, 2014, 11:06 AM EST

From Alex Prewitt of the Washington Post:

Ah, the advantages of becoming an unrestricted free agent at age 27. Among pending UFAs under 30, no defenseman is in a stronger position than Matt Niskanen heading into Tuesday’s frenzy. Anton Stralman, also 27, is maybe the closest.

Sheehy also thinks his client is “certainly the premier defenseman in the free agent market.” Which is debatable given Christian Ehrhoff‘s sudden availability, but Niskanen has the advantage of being a right-handed shot, and lots of teams are looking for one of those.

Other UFA d-men include Dan Boyle (37), Tom Gilbert (31), Brooks Orpik (33), Willie Mitchell (37), and Kyle Quincey (28).

Related: Rutherford says re-signing Niskanen is ‘not going to be easy’

  1. jernster21 - Jun 30, 2014 at 11:21 AM

    This is why the NHL goes into lockouts every time the CBA expires. A pretty good player (he’s not winning Norris trophy’s every year) hits free agency and teams write blank checks…not because they’re the greatest player, but because they’re one of the better players available on the market. It wasn’t too long ago where Del Zotto was looking pretty good and in line to get himself a pretty nice contract and no one even wants the guy now….things change and one good year isn’t worth a 7 year contract, imo.

    • bikeman99 - Jun 30, 2014 at 11:24 AM

      Not worth more than 4 million per year, but he’ll get 6 because he shoots right? That’s crazy

    • smarshall3789 - Jun 30, 2014 at 11:26 AM

      I completely agree I’m a hockey nut and didn’t hear much of this guy before this year. Now he wants a 7 year deal and some gm will give it to him. I hope it’s not my RedWings id rather them give up a low round pick to get Del Zotto then sign Niss to a 7 year deal. Just obsuurd

      • jb8588 - Jun 30, 2014 at 11:54 AM

        I have a bad feeling Yzerman is going to be the one wanting to pony up for this guy. GM’s who sign these guys to these long contracts almost all of time have them blow up in their face halfway through the deal. Bolts don’t need another soft d-man back there so I hope Yzerman doesn’t try to break the bank on him.

      • lightning79 - Jun 30, 2014 at 3:30 PM

        The only thing is Del Zotto is a LH Dmen which wouldn’t help Babcock’s request to Holland. He really wants a RH Dmen.

        As for JB8588, I really hope you are wrong. I don’t think SY goes after a “premier” Dmen. Maybe a Mark Fayne or Christian Erhoff. I really don’t see him signing Niskanen on a 7 year deal or hell a 6 year deal…

        Yzerman has stated that last night’s trades gives him options, but it doesn’t mean he has to desperately go after UFA. He said to LeBrun he’d like a W or C, and maybe 1 Dmen.

    • jpelle82 - Jun 30, 2014 at 11:57 AM

      his agent has to be just drooling all over himself. the timing couldn’t be any better I guess for the niskanen camp. blessing and a curse though, you get paid greatly but with great compensation comes great expectations and sometimes guys aren’t so mentally prepared for the pressure to perform and the spotlight that comes with it. hopefully for him, (and I think he will be fine because of the maturity he showed as a penguin) he succeeds wherever he goes.

      • c9castine - Jun 30, 2014 at 2:26 PM

        Funny thing is niskanen wanted an extension last summer and shero wanted to wait and see how season went bad move probably could have extended him for about 3.8 mil for 6 years

    • mangoman1966 - Jun 30, 2014 at 12:11 PM

      Your right. Hockey is turning into baseball. No wonder its too expensive to take your family to a hockey game. Perfect example

  2. purpleguy - Jun 30, 2014 at 11:22 AM

    Maybe he can get a 7 year deal with some team, but he’ll likely never sniff the playoffs if he does.

  3. storminator16 - Jun 30, 2014 at 11:28 AM

    Then again, defense is at a premium. Kind of impossible for Niskanen not to get a 7 year deal from someone. I’m going to bet Stralman is going to get one too. More power to them; these guys only have a short window to make big money.

  4. illogic87 - Jun 30, 2014 at 11:47 AM

    Hes definitely not resigning with Pitt! He will be going to Minnesota or to Sens

    • barkar942 - Jun 30, 2014 at 12:24 PM

      Detroit! Babcock wants him bad!

    • chief361 - Jul 1, 2014 at 1:08 AM

      if he wants to come home to minny, he’d better consider a shorter term and a lower value deal. GMCF has already said he feels absolutely no pressure to sign these long term contracts just to bring in over-rated talent this summer. he’s already qualified several RFAs including zucker (which some thought was guaranteed trade bait this summer) which means that vanek and niskanen won’t be overpaid to play here. if they take reasonable deals, i’d be more than happy to have either or both but, just because both have ties to minnesota doesn’t mean we should overpay for either. plus, we still have dumba and now frolin who may snag a roster spot out of camp and will be way cheaper though i’m almost certain they’ll both need time in the AHL yet next year.

  5. flyersfan85 - Jun 30, 2014 at 11:50 AM

    Crazy. Hardly amy of the contenders have that much cash..if playing on a playoff team is interesting to him. Other then that you have teams that have cap space but dont like to spemd money and other places are destinations that players arent interested in. I agree this is a fantastic group of FAs, rfa and ufa, but alot of teams are moving assets now..just to be compliant..and here comes all of these ego trips. Yep Kane and Toews are worth the cash..ifthey are interested in faqing their team or looking to get traded. Why even make stupid requests like 12 mil a piece..and if they get it crosby will be underpaid.. we are looking at a nother lockout next year or the one after..

    • flyersfan85 - Jun 30, 2014 at 11:58 AM

      Truthfully i was hoping Philly would pickup Nisk or Stralman..but not for 5 or 6 or 7 years..anyone short of Doughty or Weber isnt worth that stretch of time, as my flyers have shown. Fawk them all..and I hope we trade all of our older D tonwhoever takes them for picks. I like the idea of building from draft and dont mind if the flyers suck for a few more years to get decent picls in the future. Isnt like we have a great d now..just bring up the young guys and draft well..especially next year.

    • mangoman1966 - Jun 30, 2014 at 12:17 PM

      The letang deal threw the pens entire payroll system out of whack. They can’t sign niskanen or orpik. Possible they may make a trade for defensive help. Hopefully they give depres a fair chance. Sorry.don’t even know where I’m going with this.

      • flyersfan85 - Jun 30, 2014 at 2:05 PM

        No worries. At least you added something to the discussion. Most others just got confused and gave me a thumbs down out of frustration.

        Mango, I agree. Not just with Letang..but most teams are finding themselves handcuffed by bad contracts or stars and semistars that demand the word. The bad thing is that players come out from under previous contracts and demand the moon..although Bettman only wanted to up the cap a little.. what to do. Owners arent going to take the hit it all gets passed on to us diehards that go to the game..may spend a year at home watching the games on the local channel to get my fix

      • c9castine - Jun 30, 2014 at 2:44 PM

        You have to project with letting. After this year Martin’s 5 mil won’t be there. It’ll will be 28 year old letting leading a young talented defense with a rising payroll. Its a little stifling now but I don’t see it as a problem…almost a good thing because it’s forcing us.to push young talent in. If you want.to see a contract that is killing the team.look at worthless scissor and his almost 4 million

      • jpelle82 - Jun 30, 2014 at 3:21 PM

        who is “worthless scissor”?

      • c9castine - Jun 30, 2014 at 3:53 PM

        Haha…I have a new phone and auto correct is killing me I’m 27 but not technologically advanced, little old school.

        I mean Letang and worthless scuderi

  6. leepetertk - Jun 30, 2014 at 12:03 PM

    So he might be the premier defenceman of this UFA class. And he is a good NHL player. But it is hard to imagine that Niskanen will live up to the hype of a 7 year say 6+ million per year contract. He is not a superstar but he will get paid like one. I think the team that signs him will regret it for the first few years when his cap hit occupies too much of the payroll and he doesn’t produce like a superstar.

    • c9castine - Jun 30, 2014 at 2:46 PM

      I highly doubt he takes 6+….I’m thinking just under 5 for long term. Bank on it.

  7. rsmaggiemae - Jun 30, 2014 at 12:09 PM

    I live in Minnesota and I personally think from the interview that he will not come here due to the fact that GM Fletcher does not want to give him a long term contract but it was brought up to Russo, what is the difference in giving Parise and Suter 13 year contracts??
    and Russo had no reply and that is what I have been asking for weeks., what is the difference?
    Parise and Suter will be 29 and 30 this year and do you think that in 6=7 years they are still going to be as good as they are now and if so then what will the Wild do???
    Not giving him a long term which is only 7 years is a bunch of crap they are waiting for thier farm team to step up in defense but that could take another 2-4 years.. they have in my mind been living a pipe dream on these young kids just stepping into the NHL with only 1 year down in the farm team…. this really has irked me for weeks, the same thing with Vanek

    • illogic87 - Jun 30, 2014 at 12:21 PM

      Suter and Parise have been performing outstanding for their entire careers. Niskanen has basically had one good year and it was his contract year.

      • c9castine - Jun 30, 2014 at 2:33 PM

        He’s had a couple good years he broke into the league when he was 19 and scored 26 point then 35 the next year. Had a bad couple years coaches seemed to.give up on him in Dallas and then Todd reirden resurrected him.

      • chief361 - Jul 1, 2014 at 1:14 AM

        that and when’s the last time niskanen made the olympics?

  8. gbatap - Jun 30, 2014 at 12:36 PM

    12 months from now the team that signs this guy to 7/40+ is going to feel stupid.

  9. greatmiamisportsmind - Jun 30, 2014 at 1:32 PM

    Never compare the NHL to MLB in terms of spending. The closest comparison would be the NFL. Both have hard caps. MLB teams could spend 200+ million (Yankees/Red Sox) and teams could spend 40 million (Marlins). With hockey you have cap floors and cap ceilings. Something MLB will never do

  10. raleighcaniac - Jun 30, 2014 at 1:35 PM

    When Rutherford was Carolina’s GM he signed Jordan Staal to a 10 year contract at 6m per. Thats the definition of stupidity. J. Staal is as bad an underperformer as big bro Eric who will paid 9m this season thanks to Rutherford plus another 9m next season. 15m per season tied up in two players. Just dumb.

    The game has passed by Rutherford. He will mess up the Pens now.

  11. ctcork - Jun 30, 2014 at 1:42 PM

    He won’t be getting a 7 year deal in Tampa, that much I can assure you

  12. pj608 - Jun 30, 2014 at 1:42 PM

    This is why you don’t sign 3 guys at or over 8 mil…. Now they actually lose out on one of few guys that plays good defense on the squad….

    • miketoasty - Jun 30, 2014 at 2:34 PM

      They only have 2 signed over 8 mil, Letang has a cap hit of $7.25 mil.

      And no, Nisakanen is a highly over rated player, I’m really surprised that after one “Good” season he is getting so much interest. This guy was in the dog house for a while before last season and don’t forget he had Malkin, Crosby, and Letang setting him up on the PP which is where he got most of his points.

      • pj608 - Jun 30, 2014 at 3:29 PM

        They always gain a ton of interest after 1 good season…. Thats why every one plays so well in a “contract year”. Look at clarkson…. HAHAHAHAHA. But Niskanen is still pretty young and it takes d men longer to get the flow of things. Not to say his team helps at all.

        And yes, Letangs hit might only be 7.25 but you gotta realize, all these guys get bonuses so in reality its probably and extra 1.5 for him, extra 4 for Crosby and an extra 3-4 for Malkin. Why else would Crosby’s “cap hit” be less than Malkin’s. Give me a break bud. Theres gotta be some logic behind the scenes.

    • c9castine - Jun 30, 2014 at 3:56 PM

      Oh is getting thumbs up meanwhile pens only have to players over 8 million and Crosby gets nothing in bonuses.

      Know what your talking about man..

  13. homegrowntalentmn - Jun 30, 2014 at 2:24 PM

    As a wild fan. I dont want us to over pay. Either a hometown discount (wont happen) or just sign ehrhoff. For vanek. 2 yrs is my max. If he’s smart he’d do a one yr deal with us. He’ll get more money

    • pj608 - Jun 30, 2014 at 3:30 PM

      Wild dont need Defense, They need a goalie with a little consistency…. They have a good team and a ton of young players coming up.

      • slickvb82 - Jun 30, 2014 at 3:40 PM

        One could definitely argue the Wild needs to add defense, especially one that can help out our horrendous PP. AKA Niskanen. As far as goalie, unfortunately there is nothing we can do right now. Other than hope Backs can stay healthy, Hards can stay healthy and Kuemps can continue to grow…..haha yeah, all of that :)

    • latrobe21 - Jun 30, 2014 at 4:46 PM

      The Penguins should have given him Letang’s deal.

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