This summer, not only the draft will be very exciting and interesting in the National Hockey League. There’s also the free agent market, which could give us quite a show.
As we speak, several more players appear to be headed straight for full autonomy on July 13th.
We can think of Johnny Gaudreau, Nazem Kadri, Filip Forsberg, among others.
Several teams will therefore be forced to lay off some of their players due to their salary situation.
One such team that will have quite the headache is the Colorado Avalanche.
Indeed, Joe Sakic, the team’s general manager, will have a lot to do after the Stanley Cup Finals to keep his roster as competitive as possible.
Looking at Avalanche’s current gap under the salary cap (about $25.6 million), you’d think it would all be easy.
However, several players will have to resign and some of them will clearly be asking for a significant pay rise.
To make it as short as possible, here are the “key” players that the Avalanche will most likely try to re-sign.
- Artturi Lehkonen – left winger – 26 years – Germany
- Andre Burakovsky – left winger – 27 years – UFA
- Nazem Kadri – middle – 31 years old – UFA
- Valeri Nichushkin – left winger – 27 years – UFA
- Josh Manson – Right-hander – Age 30 – UFA
The player here who is most likely to ask for a very good raise, along with Nazem Kadri, who will most likely become a free agent, is Valeri Nichushkin.
Indeed, thanks to his solid season (25-27-52 in 62 games), but above all thanks to his excellent recent performances in the playoffs, Nichushkin will be asking for a major contract.
“Valeri is built for the playoffs” – Bednar https://t.co/5qG3JsptN3
— JF Chaumont (@JFCchaumontJDM) June 19, 2022
The Russia winger earned $2.5 million annually this season. He’ll clearly be asking for a significant raise, therefore, and he knows full well that testing the free agent market could land him THE contract of his career.
The question of whether the Avalanche can sign him again is therefore very serious.
Nichushkin’s playing style and the way he’s playing right now will make many NHL teams wary of these negotiations with Joe Sakic.
Such players, who can do everything on the ice in addition to good playoff performances, are a rare commodity that many teams are willing to pay dearly for.
A team like the Montreal Canadiens could be very interested in a player like Nichushkin, especially if they draft Shane Wright and not Juraj Slafkovksy first in the draft.
Slafkovsky has often been compared to Nichushkin in recent weeks.
In short, it will be really interesting to see what will happen in the case of Nichushkin and his next contract.
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