NHL Rumors: Panthers expect to sign Barkov soon; Kaprizov insights; Predators looking to lock up Ekholm and Forsberg

The latest on some contract talks for big stars.

aleksander barkov extension
Apr 10, 2021; Dallas, Texas, USA; Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov (16) prepares to take the face-off against the Dallas Stars during the second period at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Aleksander Barkov would easily be a $10 million dollar player if he hits the market as an unrestricted free agent next summer. The Panthers want to head that possibility off as soon as this offseason.

NHL Rumors: Panthers expect to sign Barkov soon

A report from ESPN states that GM Bill Zito is confident that a new deal for their number 1 center should be done before the start of the season.

Aleksander Barkov is entering the last year of his six-year contract with the Florida Panthers. ESPN asked GM Bill Zito if there was a date when he’d have to consider trading the star center. He said there isn’t one, because “I’m confident we’ll be able to work something out.” Zito said an extension will “probably” come before the 2021-22 NHL season begins in October. Barkov’s agent Mark Gandler wouldn’t comment on the negotiations.

Greg Wyshynski, ESPN

Barkov, 25, became the fifth player in league annals to win both the Selke and Lady Byng awards in his career. The eight-year veteran posted a team-high 26 goals along with 32 assists for 58 points, second on the Panthers, in 50 games this season. This marked his sixth straight season scoring 20 or more goals. He led the Panthers in scoring in 2018-19, his best season, with 96 points (35 goals, 61 assists).

Mats Zuccarello on Kirill Kaprizov

kirill kaprizov contract
May 7, 2021; Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Wild left wing Kirill Kaprizov (97) looks on during the second period against the Anaheim Ducks at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

Kaprizov reportedly has a deal on the table with CSKA Moscow that would kick in September 1 if he can’t come to terms with Minnesota. According to Frank Seravalli, there’s been no offer made since April. However; there’s some out there who called this move by Kirill an absolute bluff.

When GM Bill Guerin was pressed about the KHL possibility he said, “It doesn’t bother me at all.”

Kaprizov’s linemate Mats Zuccarello is telling Norwegian news outlet VG that he thinks his friend will sign.

I have talked to him a bit and hope it works out. I do not interfere in his contract talk, I just hear how it goes. We talk together as friends. But if it was up to me, I think it works. Once you make it to the NHL; even though the KHL is a good league, there is something special about the NHL.

Mats Zuccarello via VG

Predators want to lock up Mattias Ekholm and Filip Forsberg

nhl rumors predators
Feb 8, 2021; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Nashville Predators left wing Filip Forsberg (9) lines up for a face off during the first period against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Next summer the Predators have two key players that are heading for UFA status. Both Filip Forsberg and Mattias Ekholm will be able to cash in, but GM David Poile is trying to get them extended. According to published reports, conversations have started with Ekholm.

“And then I think shortly before training camp we’ll reach out to Filip Forsberg and [Mattias Ekholm] camp and sort of get a lay of the land as to where Filip’s thoughts are right now,” Poile said. “Those are the next two priorities.”

NHL.com

Forsberg, 27, scored 32 points in 39 games last season. He’s coming off a deal with an AAV of $6M. Meanwhile, Ekholm, 31, registered 23 points in 48 games and earns just $3.75M against the cap. Both are due raises but Ekholm will see a significant increase.