The start of training camp is a week away, and two Golden Knights remain without a contract, which might seem worrisome from the outside.
But that’s almost the new normal for restricted free agents such as Nolan Patrick and Dylan Coghlan.
Several other RFAs with no arbitration rights also are waiting for new deals to be negotiated while hoping not to miss any time at camp, either. That includes Ottawa forward Brady Tkachuk, Minnesota playoff tour de force Kirill Kaprizov, former No. 1 overall pick Rasmus Dahlin from Buffalo and the Vancouver power couple of Quinn Hughes and Elias Pettersson.
Patrick’s agent, Rich Evans, said Tuesday there was no update on negotiations for a new contract. Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon was not available for comment with rookie camp set to open Wednesday at City National Arena.
The Knights went through a similar scenario in 2018 when defenseman Shea Theodore was a restricted free agent. He missed 12 days of training camp before signing a seven-year extension, though there isn’t the same level of concern about Patrick not being on the ice next week.
Patrick was acquired by the Knights in a July trade for former top pick Cody Glass and made $874,125 last season playing on his qualifying offer from Philadelphia.
But he posted four goals and nine points and was a minus-30 in 52 games last season after missing the 2019-20 season because of a migraine disorder that threatened to end his career.
As a result, the Knights aren’t likely to offer Patrick a long-term extension the way they did with Theodore three years ago. Patrick’s deal is more likely to resemble the one Buffalo gave forward Casey Mittelstadt (three years, $7.5 million), who was also a restricted free agent.
Both players were drafted in 2017, with Patrick going second and Mittelstadt at No. 8, and experienced ups and downs during their development. Mittelstadt spent time in the minors in 2019-20 before he started to fulfill his promise with 22 points in 41 games last season.
The Knights are already up against the $81.5 million salary cap, according to CapFriendly.com and PuckPedia.com, even with forward Alex Tuch (shoulder surgery) on long-term injured reserve.
They also have to sign Coghlan, who is projected to battle for the role as the seventh defenseman, and maybe more depending on whether his booming right-hand shot can help the ailing power play.
Coghlan made his NHL debut last season, earning the trust of Knights coach Pete DeBoer. He scored a memorable hat trick March 10 in a loss at Minnesota, and McCrimmon said in July they want to get Coghlan more action this season after he appeared in 29 games.
Dylan Coghlan (@GoldenKnights) became the third defenseman in NHL history to score his first three career goals in the same game. The others:
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) March 11, 2021
One comparable for a Coghlan contract could be teammate and fellow defenseman Zach Whitecloud, who signed a two-year, $1.45 million extension before his entry-level contract expired and turned out to be a bargain.
Rookie Faceoff schedule
7:30 p.m. — Golden Knights vs. Coyotes, Gila River Arena
2 p.m. — Golden Knights vs. Sharks, Ice Den Scottsdale
11 a.m. — Golden Knights vs. Kings, Ice Den Scottsdale
Golden Knights rookie camp roster
(Subject to change)
Forwards: Jakub Brabenec, Daniel D’Amato, Zach Dean, Jakub Demek, Pavel Dorofeyev, Jack Dugan, Jacob Gaucher, Marcus Kallionkieli, Peyton Krebs, Jermaine Loewen, Maxim Marushev, Lynden McCallum, Kaleb Pearson, Mason Primeau
Defensemen: Layton Ahac, Daniil Chayka, Artur Cholach, Connor Corcoran, Lukas Cormier, Peter DiLiberatore, Zack Hayes, Kaedan Korczak, Marc Lajoie, Adam McCormick
Goaltenders: Carl Lindbom, Jiri Patera, Jesper Vikman