Only a handful of restricted free agents are still without a contract (these players did not go to arbitration and must negotiate deals with their clubs):
Mark Giordano, Calgary
Anton Babchuk, Carolina
Jussi Jokinen, Dallas
Stephen Weiss, Florida
Noah Welch, Florida
Alex Perezhogin, Montreal (went to Russia)
Paul Martin, New Jersey
Keith Ballard, Phoenix
Matt Walker, St. Louis
Quite a few young defencemen, and I think there's a reason for that. Moreso than forwards and netminders, it's more difficult to determine a salary range for blueliners and teams and agents/players are often far apart at the outset.
The Ballard negotiations are a good example of this, as the player and his agent are likely angling for a Kevin Bieksa type deal (and why not?) for a player who is still relatively unknown and unheralded outside of his own market.
Ballard played tough, tough minutes last season in Phoenix and probably deserves that sort of contract, but things like playing for a weak team and plus-minus may hold him back.
Labels: free agency