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Rumor Roundup: Ryan Johansen to KHL & other RFA buzz

While Ryan Johansen's contentious contract negotiations with the Columbus Blue Jackets dominate NHL headlines, several other notable young players around the league also remain unsigned.
The Hockey News

The Hockey News

While Ryan Johansen's contentious contract negotiations with the Columbus Blue Jackets dominate NHL headlines, several other notable young players around the league also remain unsigned.

Boston Bruins defenseman Torey Krug and right winger Reilly Smith still await new deals. CSN New England's Joe Haggerty reports it's believed Krug and the Bruins have agreed to a one-year bridge term for this season but remain around $750,000 apart. Haggerty speculates Smith also received a one-year offer.

Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli undoubtedly would've preferred re-signing the duo before training camp opened last week, but, as has been well documented, the Bruins lack sufficient cap space to comfortably re-sign the duo.

It's anticipated Chiarelli will make a trade before the start of the season to free up the necessary space. Until then, Krug and Smith remain in contractual limbo, unable to participate in training camp.

RFA winger Jaden Schwartz was a no-show at St. Louis Blues training camp. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports Blues management and Schwartz's agent are keeping contract talks out of the media, but the two sides are believed to be focusing on a short-term deal. It's rumored the Schwartz camp seeks $3-million annually, while the Blues offer is closer to $2 million per season.

Mike Heika of The Dallas Morning News reports the Stars' depth in young talent allows GM Jim Nill to be patient in his negotiations with RFAs Cody Eakin and Brenden Dillon. Nill said he hopes to sign the duo soon, but is prepared in the short term to move on without them. Heika suggests a comparable high-end contract for Eakin is Philadelphia center Brayden Schenn (two years, $2.5-million annually), while Dillon's could be Detroit defenseman Danny DeKeyser (two years, $2.19 million per).

In Nashville, meanwhile, the Predators have yet to ink defenseman Ryan Ellis to a new deal. TSN's Bob McKenzie last week reported Ellis's contract talks apparently aren't going well and are nowhere close to a resolution.

Offer sheets are a slim possibility for Eakin, Dillon and Ellis, as any such move would likely be matched. Krug, Smith and Schwartz are ineligible to receive offer sheets as they played less than 10 games during their respective rookie seasons.

As for Johansen, over the weekend TSN reported he received a one-year, $5-million offer from CSKA Moscow of the Kontinental League, but the club denied this. Johansen's agent, Kurt Overhardt, told ESPN's Pierre LeBrun they remain focused on getting a deal done with the Blue Jackets.

It's possible one of these players could be traded if negotiations drag on into the start of the upcoming regular season. Given the leverage their respective clubs hold, however, it's doubtful any of them will be moved.

Rumor Roundup appears regularly only on Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website,, and is a contributing writer for Bleacher Report, Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).

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