Last month, the agent for Wild forward Nino Niederreiter said he and his client wanted to avoid arbitration.
But on Tuesday, the Niederreiter camp made a somewhat expected, if not required move — filing for arbitration ahead of tomorrow’s deadline, per the Star-Tribune.
Back in June, agent Andre Rufener told the Star-Tribune Niederreiter wanted to stay away from arbitration and hoped to get a long-term deal done Minnesota. Rufener also addressed trade reports involving his client, explaining that — while he doesn’t envision a deal happening — he is aware that Niederreiter’s in demand across the NHL.
“We’re just taking this as a positive thing,” Rufener said. “There’s interest in him across the league.”
It’s easy to see why. Niederreiter is only 24 and has cracked the 20-goal plateau in each of his last three seasons.
As such, one would expect him to get a significant raise from the three-year, $8 million deal he just wrapped. That one carried a $2.67M average annual cap hit.
One has to think Niederreiter is well aware of the big money being splashed to keep talented young forwards locked in long-term. Jonathan Drouin, for example, scored a six-year, $33 million extension from Montreal just hours after being acquired from Tampa Bay.
The tricky part for the Wild, of course, is that Niederreiter isn’t the only talented youngster needing a new deal. Mikael Granlund, who led the team in points last year, is also a RFA that could file for arbitration by tomorrow’s deadline.
It is worth noting, however, that teams and players can continue negotiating after the filing.