Get ready for a wild offseason as the market is expected to be flooded with both UFAs and RFAs
“The market will be flooded with players,” was how one team executive framed the NHL offseason landscape to me. “There is nothing normal about this year,” and it seems like most teams are figuring it out as it develops.
That’s because of many factors thanks to the impacts of COVID-19 to the league. From the obvious delay in resuming and completing this season, to the financial hardships many will experience. All teams are dealing with a flat cap of $81.5 million but news around the NHL is that some teams are self imposing internal caps at $70 million.
Delays in talking with NHL Free Agents
Yesterday, I spoke with Mike Liut, former Hartford Whalers goaltender and agent. When asked about Rangers RFA, Alexandar Georgiev he said they haven’t discussed a new contract. “I have not had any discussions with the Rangers as of yet,” Liut relayed via email.
He then let me know that talks were expected to start later this week or next. This was inline with what Ryan Strome’s agent told me as well almost two weeks ago.
What is going on with the Rangers is happening with every team around the NHL. Over in St. Louis, Alex Pietrangelo is frustrated with the lack of talks too. “It’s been a little disappointing that we haven’t been able to get a deal done, obviously,” Pietrangelo told Pierre LeBrun. “But this is the situation that we’re in, we’re over three weeks away from Oct. 9 and there hasn’t been much in terms of progress.”
The NHL market is going to be flooded with more than just UFAs
When talking with the team executive, I naturally assumed that this meant more buyouts due to cap issues. This would increase the UFA market, but a late report by both Pierre Lebrun and Darren Dreger suggested otherwise. According to the insiders, we may see a lot of RFA’s on the market too.
Upon reading this information, I followed up and was told that the opening bell of free agency will be wild. “If you’re an agent, you want to strike in those first few hours,” the exec explained. “It will really grind to a halt on day two.”
Teams are going into free agency with a plan and a budget. The unknown for them is just what RFA’s aren’t getting qualifying offers. That alone is going to throw every team’s plans out the door, come October 7th.
If you love Free Agent Frenzy, then put your request in for some time off at work. The ride this offseason could be the wildest day in NHL history.