There’s been a fair amount of news breaking in the Western Conference lately. Whether it’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ and Joel Eriksson Ek’s eight-year extensions, the Viktor Arvidsson trade, or the Duncan Keith drama, this past week has given fans of Western teams more than enough to chew on. That hasn’t changed today, as there have been many tidbits of information floating around the hockey sphere. Following up on some extensive rumors from last month, NHL.com independent correspondent Jessi Pierce reports that the Minnesota Wild and Kirill Kaprizov are set to resume contract negotiations next week. Minnesota and general manager Bill Guerin come into this set of negotiations with a much better idea of their salary cap situation after devoting $5.25MM per season to Eriksson Ek on Friday. With some more cost certainty in hand, Guerin can come forward with some more solid offers to Kaprizov and his agent to give him a more realistic idea of their options. Guerin, who is “confident [they’ll] get a deal done at some point,” now has just $16.8MM in space to offer to Kaprizov, Kevin Fiala, and any other free agents he’ll sign to fill out the roster.
- As a subset to that story, The Athletic’s Michael Russo is additionally reporting that contract talks with Fiala’s agent have now initiated. Guerin now finds himself in a unique position of negotiating the contracts of arguably his two best forwards simultaneously. With limited room to work with, it’s likely that one of Kaprizov or Fiala will have to take a bridge deal with a lower cap hit in order to give Guerin flexibility to add in free agency. Considering some previous Kaprizov rumors, it’s likely that the Russian forward will likely end up with that bridge deal. Guerin and Fiala’s camp are in a position to sign a contract similar to Eriksson Ek’s, exchanging some money up front in exchange for term and certainty for both sides.
- Another young forward, Vancouver Canucks center Elias Pettersson, is also a pending restricted free agent in need of a new deal. Pettersson’s situation is slightly different, however, having played in just 26 games this past season due to injury. After reports from last month that the Canucks may want to sign Pettersson to a shorter-term deal, The Province’s Ben Kuzma reports today that Pettersson’s camp could opt for a short-term deal as well. Drawing on Brock Boeser’s three-year, $17.625MM ($5.875MM cap hit) contract signed prior to 2019-20 as a comparable, a short-term deal could open the door for general manager Jim Benning to offer a much longer-term deal to another RFA in defender Quinn Hughes.
- The Canucks find themselves on here twice today after The Province’s Patrick Johnston reported that they’ve promoted Todd Harvey to be the team’s director of amateur scouting. Former director Judd Brackett departed the team prior to 2020-21 to accept the same role with the Wild, meaning that the Canucks have left the position vacant from then until now. Harvey, who’s served as an amateur scout for the team since the 2017-18 season, had effectively taken on Brackett’s role since his departure anyways. Harvey’s last NHL season was with the Stanley Cup Finalist 2005-06 Edmonton Oilers, and after a few seasons playing senior hockey, stepped away from the game until returning as an assistant coach for the OHL’s Guelph Storm in 2013. Harvey will be tasked with adding to a prospect pool that’s largely been drained in recent years with the graduation of players like Pettersson and Thatcher Demko.
All contract information courtesy of CapFriendly.