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Checking in on key impending RFAs

For now, Sergei Bobrovsky is focused on stopping pucks. But contract negotiations loom. Jamie Sabau/NHLI/Getty Images

There are really two schools of thought when it comes to signing your restricted free agents early, like the Minnesota Wild did over the weekend with Jonas Brodin. Once you’re confident you know what you have in a player, like the Wild are with their talented young defenseman, get the deal done. Avoid future hassles that can come with an attempted bridge contract (like we saw this offseason) and get your franchise cost certainty moving forward. In a few years, the contract will look like a value.

If Brodin continues on the trajectory he is right now, there’s no doubt that the $4.2 million he’ll be averaging per season will look great.

Still, there are reasons other general managers are in the other school of thought, and aren’t rushing out to do the same thing. One situation that is often brought up by executives around the league is what has befallen the Edmonton Oilers. They see the long-term deals the young players were given almost immediately, and wonder if it made those players a little too comfortable at an early age.

“I don’t want to gift wrap a big contract,” said one general manager this week.

They want their young players driven. They want to know exactly what they’re getting in a player rather than trying to project what they might get. And if they sign one player, they don’t want their next two or three young players calling with their hands out.

That’s a challenge GM Chuck Fletcher faces right now in Minnesota. The Brodin deal is a smart one but now the other Minnesota RFAs, and there are plenty, will want theirs. Charlie Coyle, Mikael Granlund, Erik Haula and Marco Scandella are all restricted free agents after this season.

Here’s a look at a few other high-profile restricted free agents and where they stand right now