The Arizona Coyotes and RFA forward Tobias Rieder have been deadlocked in contract negotiations for the entire off-season.
Arizona Coyotes restricted free agent forward Tobias Rieder has maintained throughout the off-season that he deserves more money than Coyotes management has offered.
Reports suggest the two sides aren’t that far apart when it comes to salary, but that hasn’t stopped Rieder’s team and the Coyotes from confidently posturing.
Rieder’s agent has pitched alleged offers from the KHL that Rieder could opt to take in lieu of a Coyotes deal.
On the other side, the Coyotes have made deals to bring on additional pieces to the puzzle, like the one for forward prospect Lawson Crouse. Between those deals, and a lot of silence, the team is sending its own message.
Typically, a young talent like Rieder would carry a lot of leverage with an NHL team.
With the Arizona Coyotes so jam-packed with prospect talent, the value of that leverage is reduced significantly. In fact, if both sides remain steadfast, it’s likely not to raise too many questions from fans given the wealth of talent to fill the void.
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The likely outcome, however, will largely come down to two things: training camp, which is set to begin imminently, and the results of the Coyotes first road trip which encompasses six of the team’s first seven games. If he’s not traded first.
If the Arizona Coyotes come out of training camp and feel really good about their team, minus Rieder, that could heavily influence things. No need to give into Rieder’s demands if the roster’s looking good to the Coyotes’ management.
On the other hand, that position could falter if the team takes it on the chin during the season-opening road trip and returns to Gila River Arena with a bunch of losses. That could push the team to give into Rieder’s demands, or at least be open to a more robust negotiation.
The danger for Rieder is if he returns from the World Cup of Hockey to an Arizona Coyotes team that is more than impressed with its stable of prospects, and a management that doesn’t feel inclined to be rushed into giving in to Rieder’s asking price.
If the team then kicks off the season and returns from its road trip feeling good with a winning record, Rieder’s best option is to take whatever deal is on the table and prove to the team he is worth a long-term investment.
Otherwise, he could be in for a long wait, or he needs to quickly learn Russian.
I like Rieder and what he can offer the team over the next four or five years. He’s an example of the fast young talent that is taking the NHL by storm. He’s spoken of highly by his peers, and Captain Shane Doan has publicly referred to his contributions in interviews throughout last season.
When it comes to restricted free agent negotiations, there aren’t any hard and fast deadlines that spur the talks other than the beginning of the season. There is no date when other teams can try to grab an RFA, so it all comes down to two sides having a meeting of the minds.
The deals usually happen, one way or another.
In this case, we’re hoping that a deal gets done soon so Rieder can benefit from a full training camp with the team. The likely scenario, however, points to a contract sometime after the start of the season, unless Rieder is willing to bend on some of his wishes.