Contract comparables. When it comes to negotiations, these are things that can never be avoided. Luckily the Leafs have all their issues figured out for the time being even though Mitch Marner was adamant on using Auston Matthews as his contract comparable.

But what made this summer of restricted free agents (or RFAmmer if you will) is the fact that the rest of the top players were waiting to see what Marner would make. The list of RFA forwards without a contract is continuing to trickle down with Brock Boeser and Travis Konecny being the most recent to sign.

However, the top dogs in Mikko Rantanen, Brayden Point, and Matthew Tkachuk are still out there.

Point has made it clear he wants to stay in Tampa rejecting an offer sheet from the Montreal Canadiens to do so. But Marner’s $10.893 million cap hit isn’t going to help given the team’s latest offer (per Pierre Lebrun).

Our very own Hardev brought up a good point that is a growing reality in Tampa. Because of their current cap structure, they may only be able to afford a bridge deal. Nikita Kucherov got one before his grand payout (three years at $4,766,667 per) so it wouldn’t be outrageous at all to see Point go down a similar road.

Tkachuk is off skating with the London Knights and those negotiations have been fairly quiet media-wise (it must be nice). The big one here is Rantanen.

James Cybulksi of Sportsnet 650 tweeted out this gem on Wednesday.

Rantanen had 87 points this season but 84 points last season. He’s a better scorer than Marner and will likely continue to be over the course of his season (unless 16 goes off this year). So the fact that Marner is in the double digits should be very appealing to Rantanen’s camp.

The Colorado Avalanche have a little over $15.5 million in cap space which could accommodate that kind of deal for this season. But after this year, Tyson Jost and Nikita Zadarov among others will be RFAs while Samuel Giradi’s new cap hit of $5 million will start to come into play.

There’s also the trickle down effect. Nathan McKinnon is a top-five talent in the NHL and only makes $6.3 million. Now that deal was signed three years ago, but still, it’ll be awkward to see Rantanen make $4 million more than him. Do they or don’t they?

The point I’m trying to make here is: Tampa and Colorado, we know it’s a tough deal, and we’re sorry. That said, at least it’s not us anymore.

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