With the NHL season starting Wednesday, there is still some unfinished business to be done in the world of restricted free agents. Both Hampus Lindholm and Rickard Rakell are still awaiting contracts from the Anaheim Ducks, and Jacob Trouba is still awaiting a trade from the Winnipeg Jets, and a subsequent NHL contract.
While the case of Trouba is a little more complicated, both Lindholm’s and Rakell’s agents shed some light on where their client’s current contract status lies.
Claude Lemieux, the agent of Lindholm, said that he has communicated with the Ducks “but have not made any progress.”
Unfortunately for the Ducks, the situation is similar for Rakell.
Peter Wallen, Rakell’s agent, said “we are not any closer yet.” when discussing Rakell’s contract status.
— theScore NHL (@theScoreNHL) October 12, 2016
Lindholm, a former sixth overall draft pick from the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, has had a successful NHL career already. Though he won’t turn 23-years-old until January, Lindholm has already secured his place within the top-four of the Ducks defensive grouping. In 236 games, Lindholm has scored 23 goals and 92 points and has provided very solid puck-moving, and defensive play for his club. Lindholm is one of the best young defenders in the league and will likely be paid as such.
Rasmus Ristolainen, who up until recently was also a restricted free agent, was just given a six-year contract that will pay him $5.4 million per season. Per Bob McKenzie, that deal will likely be the “absolute floor” for a potential Lindholm contract.
Rakell has been discussed far less than Lindholm has, but he has been a solid contributor for the Ducks as well. Last season, Rakell broke out with a 20 goal, 43 point season. His previous career highs in goals and points were nine, and 31, respectively. The Ducks are a team that lacks forward depth, and as a result, Rakell will likely be an integral part of their plans moving forward.
Carey Price to Miss Season Opener
In a surprise turn-of-events, Carey Price is expected to miss the Montreal Canadiens’ season opener against the Buffalo Sabres. Price has missed the Habs last few practices due to an illness, but the news still comes as a surprise given Price’s exceptional play at the World Cup after missing most of the 2015-16 season with a lower-body injury.
— Amanda Stein (@amandacstein) October 12, 2016
Fortunately for fans of the Bleu, Blanc, Rouge, Price’s prior knee injury doesn’t appear to be a factor in this case. In July, Stephane Waite, the Canadien’s goaltending coach, did his best to put Canadiens’ fans at ease.
In July, we did a lot of out-of-control drills where he had to change direction, reaction drills. We even did the same kind of movement he did in New York when he got hurt. He said: ‘Steph, I’m fine, I’m good.’ He had a good smile that day and we turned the page from there.
– Stephane Waite
Price, of course, showed that he was right in the end. At the World Cup, Price was his usual standout self, backstopping the Canadian squad to victory. Price’s track record speaks for itself, and though he’s currently feeling under the weather, Habs fans can probably breathe a sigh of relief for their starting goaltender’s health.
Tyler Toffoli Wants to Win Rocket Richard Trophy
Tyler Toffoli, one of the league’s brightest young goal-scorers, has his sights set on a high goal. The Maurice “Rocket” Richard trophy is given annually to the NHL’s leading goal scorer, and Toffoli’s goal is to one day claim that title.
— theScore NHL (@theScoreNHL) October 12, 2016
In Toffoli’s first full season with the Kings, he scored 12 goals. In his sophomore years, he scored 23 goals, and last season, his third in the league, Toffoli scored 31 goals. His games played, goals, assists, and point totals have all increased with each season, and a potential Rocket Richard trophy victory could be on the horizon if he continues that trajectory.
According to NHL.com’s Nicholas Cotsonika, Toffoli had this to say on the matter:
I’m pretty competitive so I want to do better. I want to score more goals. At the end of the day, if you can lead the NHL in goals, that’s a really huge accomplishment. So there’s definitely strides to take.
– Tyler Toffoli
“I think that’d be anybody’s goal,” said Toffoli. “Obviously it would be a really huge season, but that’s why you play the game.”
A second Stanley Cup is also certainly one of Toffoli’s goals, but setting personal expectations is never a bad thing. At just 24-years-old, Toffoli has already achieved a lot, and he certainly has the potential to achieve even more.
Odds and Ends
– The NHL will fine teams who refuse to remove players who spotters or on-ice officials identify for testing, per Darren Dreger. The cost for a second offense will be a huge increase.