One month after forward and restricted free agent Nino Niederreiter declared he and the Minnesota Wild were close to coming to terms on a new contract, the 21-year-old remains unsigned with only a few weeks remaining until training camp.
While general manager Chuck Fletcher told Michael Russo of the Star-Tribune the situation is "not a concern," he qualified that statement by adding, "We’d rather have a contract done, but these things happen. You’d like everything to be clean and simple, but it doesn’t always happen that way. We’ll continue to try to etch into it.”
Russo reports the negotiations may be held up on the Wild end of things as the club looks to set a healthy precedent in advance of next summer.
The Niederreiter negotiations, to me, are the most compelling because of how many Wild forwards can become restricted free agents next summer – Mikael Granlund, Charlie Coyle and Erik Haula. Fletcher said again that in the next couple months, he’ll talk to the agents of all of next summer’s potential RFA’s (including defensemen Jonas Brodin and Marco Scandella) to 'try to get ahead of it.' (aka, extensions). 'In some cases, we may need to wait until next summer.'
But with so many young players to re-sign soon, Fletcher feels he has to get the Niederreiter deal right or it’ll affect the others.
Fletcher previously stated he's looking to signing Niederreiter to a short-term deal, which makes sense in light of Russo's report; if the team opens the vault on a long-term deal for this player, next year's restricted free agents will be looking for the same courtesy, putting the team in cap trouble and/or facing decisions in terms of dealing away certain players.