As the World Cup approaches, concerns were beginning to arise about the insurance status of restricted free agents. After all, teams would have an awfully tough time insuring players without contracts for the upcoming tournament, but it appears the NHL and NHLPA will step up to cover those players.
According to TSN’s Gary Lawless, the NHL and NHLPA will be tasked with providing insurance for restricted free agents heading to the tournament without contracts for the coming campaign. While it seems like only a small group of players that will potentially need the insurance, it’s a pretty high profile foursome.
Among those who could potentially still be RFAs at the tournament are Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov, who will play for Russia, as well as Calgary Flames duo Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan and Winnipeg Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba, all of whom will be in the Team North America lineup. All four have yet to sign deals with their respective teams with roughly a month before World Cup training camps are slated to begin.
Of course, that the foursome will be insured by the NHL and NHLPA if they remain RFAs is only important should any or all of the group fail to sign a new deal by the time the World Cup rolls around. If they sign with their respective teams, their contracts will almost assuredly be insured for the tournament.
It’s expected that all four will be under contract by the time the campaign rolls around, even if negotiations are dragging well into the summer.
Lightning GM Steve Yzerman has said he believes the team will lock up Kucherov before the season begins while Monahan and Gaudreau have both publicly said they want to remain with the Flames long-term.
The only negotiation that appears in a place where it could lead to a training camp holdout is that of Trouba. In a separate report earlier this week, Lawless said that Trouba and the Jets are apart in terms of the money, term and usage for the 22-year-old defenseman. However, the news that Trouba will be insured at the tournament is a plus for both team and player as the World Cup nears.
Regardless of the insurance status, though, you can bet that each team would much rather have their big-name RFAs locked up by the time the best-on-best international battle begins
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