Let’s be realistic: the vast majority of restricted free agents will simply re-sign with their respective clubs. The odds of any given RFA getting an offer sheet are remote, but that doesn’t mean all of the remaining RFAs are as good as signed.
Ignoring for the moment the RFAs that have arbitration dates, some of them might hold out in the hopes of getting a better deal. We’ve seen noteworthy RFAs such as Drew Doughty and Kyle Turris fail to report to training camp because they were unable to agree to terms in time. If a RFA is particularly difficult to sign, his rights might even be traded.
With that in mind, here are a few of the most interesting remaining RFAs:
Shea Weber (Nashville Predators) — Weber could just sign a one-year contract this summer so that he can test the unrestricted free agent market in the summer of 2013, but the uncertainty of the CBA situation might motivate him to ink a long-term deal now. The Predators are interested in signing him to such a contract, but he might ultimately wish to be traded following the loss of Ryan Suter.
Just keep in mind that the Predators are well below the salary floor, so if they trade him they’re probably going to need to receive a sizable contract in return.
Evander Kane (Winnipeg Jets) — Kane is coming off a 30-goal season, so it wouldn’t be surprising if he’s seeking a big payday. Almost three weeks ago Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff cautioned that there was a “tremendous amount” of work that needed to be done behind the scenes with regards to Kane.
Mike Green (Washington Capitals) — Green turned down his one-year, $5 million qualifying offer, but he might be close to re-signing.
It will be interesting to see what Green gets. On the one hand, he’s coming off back-to-back disappointing and injury-riddled seasons. At the same time, he’s not that far removed from his days as a point-per-game defenseman and given his youth, it’s not so unreasonable to expect him to rebound.