Training camps are nearly halfway finished. But Matthew Tkachuk is training with the OHL’s London Knights instead of the NHL’s Calgary Flames.
Kyle Connor is working out with the Michigan Wolverines and Patrik Laine is spitting truth in Switzerland while he skates with SC Bern.
One by one, players have signed and returned to their teams, but eight restricted free agents remain unsigned including other critical players such as Tampa Bay's Brayden Point and Mikko Rantanen of the Avalanche.
The reality now is that just one pressure point remains in these standoffs: opening night. Less than two weeks away now, it carries the threat of not only missing games, but also missing a paycheque.
Once that line in the sand is crossed, the only other real threat that exists is the Dec. 1 deadline, the last day for RFAs to sign and still be eligible for the season. William Nylander took it to the limit last year, signing in the waning minutes before losing a year.
There are a million different ways to reconfigure the NHL’s RFA dilemma, but at least two owners are in favour for what they believe is a simple solution:
Move up the Dec. 1 deadline.
“In my personal opinion, it’s within everyone’s best interest to move it up,” one NHL owner told TSN after Tuesday’s Board of Governor’s meeting. “Right now, the way this has played out isn’t good for anyone. It’s tough for teams to manage the uncertainty, it’s tough for the player to miss time, and it’s tough for fans to not see star players on the ice.”
“The only way to get anything done is to have a deadline,” another NHL owner said.
Both owners requested anonymity because the NHL is actively engaged in collective bargaining negotiations with the NHL Players’ Association. Any change to the CBA, including moving up the Dec. 1 deadline, would need to be negotiated with the NHLPA.