NHL Rumors: Blue Jackets and Werenski … Four Teams With RFAs And Cap Issues
The Blue Jackets and restricted free agent Werenski

Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch: Do the Columbus Blue Jackets look at signing restricted free agent defenseman Zach Werenski to a bridge deal or do they try to get a long-term deal? Which road does Werenski prefer?

Werenski doesn’t have a lot of leverage this offseason even though he’s a top-pairing defenseman with good numbers. He’s the top priority now for the Blue Jackets.

An offer sheet is still a possibility but likely not going to happen. Negotiations appear to be going as well as the talks are for all the other big named RFAs.

The Blue Jackets have a bit of history with players missing training camp as they await a new deal – Ryan Johansen and Josh Anderson – but doesn’t think they’ll reach that as there is plenty of time left.

Teams appear to be waiting on other teams to sign their big RFAs.

Looking at four teams that have some cap issues for their RFAs

Adam Gretz of the NBC Sports: Mikko Rantanen, Mitch Marner, Brayden Point, Patrik Laine, Charlie McAvoy, Zach Werenski, Brock Boeser, and Kyle Connor are among the top restricted free agents that remain unsigned.

Some teams have plenty of space available, while others are in a bit of cap crunch.

It’s going to cost the Winnipeg Jets at least $14 million to re-sign both Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor. They should be able to fit both in but it may mean they need to do a bit more roster maneuvering.

The Tampa Bay Lightning’s salary cap space will be over $10 million after they are able to place Ryan Callahan on the LTIR – which should be enough room for Point. Given their cap situation this season and next, have to wonder if forward Alex Killorn and his remaining four-years at $4.45 million could be made available.

The Vancouver Canucks are paying Brandon Sutter, Tanner Pearson, Antoine Roussel and Jay Beagle around $14 million, with $18 million going to Loui Eriksson, Tyler Myers and Alex Edler. Only $5 million in cap space is left for Brock Boeser.

The Boston Bruins have $7 million in cap space for McAvoy and Brandon Carlo. Both could cost upwards of $10 million. Being able to move one of David Backes, Charlie Coyle, Kevan Miller, or John Moore should give them enough space to re-sign both.