Predicting the Contracts for the NHL's Top Restricted Free Agents

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Predicting the Contracts for the NHL's Top Restricted Free Agents
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

There's really nothing worse than being an NHL restricted free agent at this time of year. Players who lack arbitration rights also lack negotiating leverage, which means you almost always have to take whatever the team wants to give you.

Why? Well, for one, an offer sheet may as well be a unicorn or UFO with as often as they are seen in the NHL, and in some cases, the RFAs aren't eligible for an offer sheet. Ryan Johansen of the Columbus Blue Jackets is offer-sheet eligible, but the team has enough cap room to match anything another team could give him, and the Jackets would match anything, so rival teams aren't going to waste their time by driving up the cost of future RFAs and ruining relationships with other executives.

For other RFAs who lack enough service time, like Reilly Smith and Torey Krug of the Boston Bruins and Danny DeKeyser of the Detroit Red Wings, they can't receive offer sheets.

Another thing holding up deals is players waiting to see what comparable players receive before signing their own deals.

At the end of the day, no one on this list is receiving an offer sheet, so just put it out of your mind. 

What will these 10 RFAs receive from their teams? For many of them, it will be bridge contracts, which is just a public-relations term to define contracts that the player almost has to sign because he has nowhere else to go. Some negotiations will leak into the start of training camp next month, while others have the potential to drag into the regular season.

When will these players sign? What sort of cap hit and term can they expect?

This slideshow will examine those questions and hopefully help you get through the dog days of August.


All statistics via; all salary information via

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