This is probably the worst year to be a restricted free agent, but is maybe the best time to own those RFAs in fantasy leagues that has a salary cap.
Before the shutdown, deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the NHL cap could rise from $81.5 million this year to $84 million to $88.2 million next season. However, COVID-19 has changed that. The news that the cap is potentially going to flatline next year at $81.5 million could put a lot of teams in cap trouble.
The top UFAs should get paid since there will still be a bidding war, but having $2.5 to $6.7 million less to spend per team will impact the RFA class. The RFAs don't have the same leverage as the UFAs, and many young players will be forced to take less money than if the cap did go up.
The decisions the NHL teams make will also impact your cap leagues. Last week, we looked at the top 10 interesting UFAs. This week, let's concentrate on the top 10 interesting RFAs for this offseason.
10. Ryan Strome
The Rangers have a few restricted free agents this season (Strome, Brendan Lemieux, Tony DeAngelo and Alexander Georgiev), and about $14 million to spend. However, for the 2021-22 season, the team has $45.6 million in cap space, as large contracts such as Henrik Lundqvist, Marc Staal and Brendan Smith come off the books. I expect the Rangers to sign some of these RFAs to one-year contracts and then worry next summer about the longer-term cap hits when there's more cap space to play with. Considering he put up almost a 70-point clip while playing on the top line with Artemi Panarin, Strome should see a significant pay increase. It's not always easy to find players that can complement elite athletes, so expect Strome to cash in somewhat.
9. Max Domi
Last season, Domi was one of the great surprises, scoring 28 goals and 72 points to go along with 80 PIM, a plus-20 and 203 shots. It looked like he was going to be in line for a massive contract, at least double the $3.15 million cap hit he currently has. Then the 2019-20 season began, and Domi saw a decrease in almost every category. In the end, he finished with an 82-game pace of 20 goals, 51 points, 40 PIM, minus-three, and 207 shots. There have already been rumours that he could be traded, but how comfortable would any team be in giving Domi a big-money contract?
8. Dylan Strome
Last year, Strome had an excellent three-quarters of a sea