We are almost two weeks into NHL training camps and only four RFAs have yet to sign. Leafs defenseman Rasmus Sandin, Stars forward Jason Robertson, Senators forward Alex Formenton, and Golden Knights defenseman Nic Hague. Let’s run through where things stand with each player and whether a contract is feasible for the teams.

I did some light digging on whether bridge contracts are more common at this late stage in the offseason, but I couldn’t find any evidence of that in the past few years.

Rasmus Sandin

We all know where things are with Sandin. The team wants a two year contract at $1.5 million-ish or less on a one year, Sandin wants $1.5 million-ish on just a one year or more on a multi-year deal.

Someone will crack at some point, and at the moment things are not in Sandin’s favour since he’s not an established member of the lineup. And no, even with Liljegren, Benn, and Dahlström out with injuries that could run into the season, Sandin still hasn’t earned a full-time job.

However, the comparables are on Sandin’s side. The players he most resembles have all gotten contracts similar to his ask.

We’ll continue to wait and see. The Leafs have the ability to make most contract numbers with Sandin work through temporary use of LTIR.

Jason Robertson

It baffles me the Dallas Stars haven’t locked up their franchise player. Pay the kid, he’s a star. Whether he gets $6 million or $9 million (not sure why I picked those numbers specifically), he’ll be worth the contract, especially with the cap going up so much in the next few years.

Anton Khudobin is most likely healthy, so that’s a big cap space hurdle the Stars can’t get around. They’re also stuck with the Seguin and Benn contracts that are thoroughly hamstringing them. I can see a scenario here where Dallas can’t keep Robertson, either because they don’t want to pay him and go too hard ball, or because they can’t pay him by making hard decisions on the cap. They’ve walked themselves into a corner I’m not certain has a path to get out from. Robertson shouldn’t take less than Elias Pettersson got on his short term deal, and that’s probably the best the Stars can do.

Reportedly, the Buffalo Sabres have started to poke around to see if a trade is available. I’m sure they were told to buzz off, but it’s getting to that point now.

I made a trade proposal for the Leafs to get the Better Robertson. What do you think? Katya says the Stars would never accept this. I’d personally be willing to go higher, 40 goal scorers with dominant metrics like Robertson (or Matthews) don’t come around very often. Swing when you get the chance.

Nic Hague

Another contract negotiation that shouldn’t be so difficult, but the Golden Knights still haven’t gotten a deal done with big defensive prospect Nic Hague. Hague played in the middle of the lineup and had very average results. That’s pretty good for a 23-year-old, good enough for a $2-$3 million contract. Again, it’s doable for the Knights.

Hague was in Vegas getting ready for training camp, but after a contract never came, he’s gone back to Kitchener where he’s skating with the OHL Rangers. In terms of a trade, personally the Leafs would probably be happy to swap Sandin for Hague.

Alex Formenton

I was under the impression Formenton had a better season than his stats showed. Sens fans really need to chill. The rush winger scored at a third line pace and is expected to be on that line this year. The Sens have the cap space to make a $3 million range contract work.

As of right now, the Hockey Canada 2018 scandal is hanging over all the players from that team, including Formenton and teammate Drake Batherson. If Formenton’s lack of a contract at this point an admission of guilt? Absolutely not. Is him getting a contract an admission of innocence? Also no. The league has cap mechanisms in place to handle situations like that, something we’ve had too much experience with already.

My assumption is that Formenton wants Batherson’s contract, which is an overpay. Same team, similar results, similar playing style. That is a contract the Sens can’t do. Someone will fold here, but it’s possible this goes on into the year.

What happens to Sandin?

Signs before season starts245
Signs during season53

What happens to Robertson?

Signs before season starts198
Signs during season87

What happens to Hague?

Signs before season starts143
Signs during season61

What happens to Formenton?

Signs before season starts100
Signs during season81

Various Leafs and Branches

Some updates from yesterday’s win over the Habs.

Seldo was on a podcast — we’ll be in contact with the Kitten Ranch legal team to see if it was sanctioned.

The US is saying the same as what Canada’s Foreign Affairs department said to their players.

Good luck to our siblings at Raw Charge and everyone in Florida this week as Category 5 Hurricane Ian comes down on them. Good thing they have Vasilevskiy to protect them.

No contract for Galch.