Looking at RFA's, particularly Tyson Barrie, Danny DeKeyser and of course Ryan Johansen …

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Welcome to September - your favorite month for training camps and fantasy drafts (and pick up my Fantasy Guide here for that)

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There is some chatter out there about Dustin Penner and how he is getting several training camp invites, from teams including Montreal and New Jersey. The latter doesn't make any sense, because the Devils already have several reclamation projects underway. But the former has some appeal. He would have to beat Michael Bournival out of a spot or hope for an injury, but that's a training camp invite that would make sense for him. But I don't think there is a single destination for him that would see him top 40 points again. Dropsy in all leagues.

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Now that we're in September, it's time to start worrying a little about the restricted free agents who still haven't signed with their club. Drance got into Ryan Johansen yesterday, because that's the one which involves the free agent with the highest fantasy value. It's also the one that seems the most likely to impact the season - either by missing games or thanks to an injury that is directly related to missing training camp time. But he's not the only fantasy-worthy name out there. Here is a rundown of the key names:

Devante Smith-Pelly - ANA

Torey Krug, Reilly Smith, Matt Fraser - BOS

Ryan Johansen - CBJ

Tyson Barrie - COL

Brenden Dillon, Cody Eakin - DAL

Danny DeKeyser - DET

Nino Niederreiter, Darcy Kuemper - MIN

Eric Gelinas - NJ

Ryan Ellis - NSH

John Moore - NYR

Jaden Schwartz - STL

Of the above, several key names pop out but the one I am most concerned about (besides Johansen, of course) is El Nino. I don't know him, I don't know a lot about him as a person. I just know that he requested a trade from the Islanders a couple of years ago and sulked when he was sent to the minors. With that in mind, does he over-inflate his self-worth? In his mind is he a proven star? I know nothing beyond my own hunch, but if I owned Niederreiter right now I would not be comfortable.

I say this but really - all of these RFAs will be signed well before missing more than a handful of games. And most of them will be signed in advance of training camp.

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Sorry, I know the Johansen thing has been done to death but I really like Puck-Rakers take on the situation and wanted to share. They broke down the two positions thusly:

"The Blue Jackets' position: Johansen does not have arbitration rights. He does not have an offer sheet from another club to sign. He has had one productive NHL season and will be paid accordingly. Here's $3.5 million per year for two years. Blow us away and we'll talk motherlode, long-term contract in 2016.

Johansen's position, through agent Kurt Overhardt: Johansen is 22 years old and he's one of the top centers in the NHL. He is a budding superstar, the likes of which your franchise has NEVER seen. He will be paid accordingly ... $7 million per season."

And then they also had this interesting tidbit to say (if you remember the Zherdev days):

"Even Doug MacLean and Nikolai Zherdev weren't this far apart when MacLean, in frustration, signed Anson Carter in 2006. (A few days later he signed Zherdev.)"

Hmmm…If that's the case, ouch! I don't think Johansen and his agent will find too many people supporting their stance.

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Here is my article from Saturday over at Puck Daddy - I give you the lowdown on rookies for the coming season.

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Here is an interesting article over at the Denver Post comparing the Justin Schultz contract to the Barrie RFA contract situation… as well as what Stefan Elliott recently signed for. Schultz signed for a little too much money on a one-year deal and his numbers were far worse than Barrie's. So that is no doubt what the Barrie camp is using for leverage. But against Barrie is…the Post put it very well so I'll just quote:

"…the fact that Stefan Elliott agreed to a modest two-way ($850,500 NHL, $67,500 minors) deal didn’t help Barrie, who was selected 15 spots behind Elliott in 2009. Some believe the only difference between Elliott, also a puck-moving right-handed shot, and Barrie is a second chance, and Elliott — who made his NHL debut before Barrie — rallied to produce 14 goals in 61 games for the Lake Erie Monsters last season."

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Here's a little Red Wings Q&A with beatwriter Ansar Khan. In there he lists Anthony Mantha and Petr Mrazek as "untouchable" in trade talks, while Ryan Sproul and Gustav Nyquist are close to untouchable. He suggests that two of Xavier Ouellet, Alexey Marchenko, Mattias Backman and Nick Jensen will need to be traded within three years simply due to the numbers game. And a deal with the aforementioned DeKeyser will get done, "likely before training camp".

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Here is Tyson Barrie taking a knee on knee from Matt Cooke. Afterwards, Patrick Roy said they lost their "best offensive defenseman" (thus giving Barrie's agent a good quote to use in negotiations):

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Barrie goes Roof Daddy:

 

 

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