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NHL | Current RFA Expectations

Due to a hard salary cap and the expansion draft, the free agent movement has gone all over the place. Teams have had to do some squeezing or even trading to make sure they can keep their star players. 

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The recent signings of Carolina’s Andrei Svechnikov and Philadelphia’s Sean Couturier both at 8 years x $7.75M AAV could be a negotiating comparison to restricted free agents who have yet to sign. Anthony Beauvillier, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Elias Pettersson, and Brady Tkachuk. 

The complicated rules with RFAs make it difficult sometimes to come to a deal because they aren’t able to simply talk to a different team in the NHL if unable to reach a deal.

Back in 2019, we saw Mikko Rantanen re-sign with Colorado while they were deep into training camp. The year prior, William Nylander and the Toronto Maple Leafs came to a deal just hours before the deadline that would have made him ineligible to play in the NHL that season. 

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To compare the recently signed Svechnikov to the previously named RFAs isn’t easy, but we can look at numbers to compare. In his first 3 seasons, Svechnikov has 140 points. Season Couturier, who signed an identical contract, had 176 points in his last 3 seasons. 

In his first three seasons, Brady Tkachuk has 125 total points, Kotkaniemi has 62 total NHL points (but has played 27 less games than Tkachuk).

McGuire: Too early to second guess Habs picking Kotkaniemi over Tkachuk -  TSN.ca

Obviously these players have more to offer for their teams than points. One statistic does not tell the entire story of how good they are at playing or how much they deserve to be paid. However, it is worth looking at when making basic comparisons of what to expect when a deal is made with their respective teams.

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