On July 1, Calgary Flames defender Rasmus Andersson will become a restricted free agent. The Swedish product is arguably the biggest piece of business for Flames general manager Brad Treliving this coming off-season and getting a deal done with Andersson quickly could pave the way for a productive summer. Preliminary conversations have already begun.
Based on how his career has gone thus far, what kind of deal should we expect to see for Andersson?
Andersson, so far
Andersson is 23 years old. His entry level contract was a bit wonky, as the first year of his deal slid while he was in the American Hockey League because of his age when he signed. Functionally, the Flames got four years of pro development for Andersson for the price of three.
Here’s Andersson’s general career trajectory:
- 2016-17: 1 NHL game (0 points), 54 AHL games (22 points)
- 2017-18: 10 NHL games (0 points), 56 AHL games (39 points)
- 2018-19: 79 NHL games (19 points)
- 2019-20: 20 NHL games (6 points)
He’s gone from “promising AHL prospect” to “tweener” to “everyday NHLer” pretty rapidly, and he’s quickly become a very valuable piece for the Flames. It would make sense for the Flames to want to lock him up long term.
Recent second contracts for young defenders
Here’s the challenge with Andersson: while he’s an important player for the Flames, most of the other prominent young defenders who have signed recently have significantly more NHL experience or production.
Here’s a snapshot:
|Brandon Carlo||230||32||0.139||2 years x $2.85 million|
|Travis Sanheim||131||51||0.389||2 years x $3.25 million|
|Josh Morrissey||164||46||0.280||2 years x $3.15 million|
|Darnell Nurse||195||47||0.241||2 years x $3.2 million|
|Markus Nutivaara||127||30||0.236||4 years x $2.7 million|
|Jakob Chychrun||118||34||0.288||6 years x $4.6 million|
|Noah Hanifin||239||83||0.347||6 years x $4.95 million|
Andersson has 25 points in 110 games (for 0.227 points per game).
There’s two things to glean from these seven contracts.
- It’s hard to find a player with similar production or experience to Andersson because the players who’ve carved out similarly prominent roles to him on their clubs did so earlier than he did.
- All we can really take from the comparable deals is get a handful of players that Andersson should likely make less than on a long term deal.
On a short term deal, it seems likely that market value for Andersson would be two years at around $2.9 million per year.
On a long term deal, it’s tougher to define. The Chychrun deal basically sets the long-term ceiling – Andersson probably shouldn’t get north of $4.6 million for six seasons. But how much less should he get? Long-term, there’s really nobody in the pipeline that’s competing for the right side gig on the top pairing and that’s something that gives Andersson’s camp some leverage. But his relative lack of production brings his asking price down a decent amount.
Throwing out a stab in the dark, the conversation probably gets interesting if the Flames offer (or Andersson’s camp asks for) something in the neighbourhood of six years at $4.25 million. But given that the market for Andersson is a little cloudy at the high end, it might make sense for both sides to wait until later in the season to hammer out a deal.