The Top 10 NHL restricted free agents
This is one of the toughest times of the year for those who are in cap leagues.
With so many unrestricted and restricted free agents, it makes it tough to balance out a roster. If your team is only $10 million below the cap, but you have seven free agents that will be signed this summer, then you need to figure who is worth keeping and who is worth trading in an effort to shed salary.
Unrestricted free agents are easy to predict. They'll sign for big money, because a general manager will give it to them.
But it's tougher with restricted free agents. Do these guys sign a bridge deal? Do they choose to take more money on a shorter term deal to become an unrestricted free agent longer? Are they confident in their spot in the lineup?
As a fantasy general manager, there's a lot of worry of what could happen to your squad this summer.
That said, here are the top 10 restricted free agents who should be seeing a pay increase this summer.
10. Justin Schultz
It's amusing to me that two years ago Schultz was an unrestricted free agent, and this season, he's restricted. But those are the rules. While Schultz hasn't lit the scoring world on fire (remember those types of threads where people opined he would be a 40-point threat right away?), he's still expected to be the Oilers leading dman of the future, at least until Darnell Nurse arrives. Schultz should see a small pay increase this year as the Oilers really don't have a lot of other options on defence.
9. Darcy Kuemper
The only goalie to make this list, Kuemper's salary will all depend on the health of the two goalies on the depth chart ahead of him. Niklas Backstrom is 36 and very often injured. Josh Harding was great last season, but is dealing with MS. Kuemper was great for the Wild in the regular season and the playoffs, and he had around a $776,000 cap hit. If the Wild decide to have Kuemper be a permanent backup, or even the starter, his salary should rise to the $2 million mark.
8. Jason Demers
There's nothing flashy about Demers, but the 25-year-old Sharks defenceman is in a good situation right now. He's coming off a career season with 34 points, and with Dan Boyle traded, he has an opportunity to get more ice time and more power play time. Last season, he made just $1.5 million. But the jury is out on whether he would be fantasy worth if he signs a multi-year deal around $3 to $4 million.