No one wants to go first. The gaggle of young restricted free agent defensemen including the Boston Bruins blueliner Charlie McAvoy and Columbus Blue Jackets rearguard Zach Werenski are watching each other. Teams without salary cap space have been slow-walking negotiations and progress while they weigh options to clear necessary space and keep costs under control. The Pittsburgh Penguins are also part of the pack as they try to find the money to sign their player, defenseman Marcus Pettersson.
The top player who goes first will set the market and could lose money because the unprecedented market has not yet established a baseline. Pettersson is not at the head of the class and his situation may be somewhat independent but teams around the league need to find cash and the flurry of forthcoming moves couple be impactful.
This is the week dominoes should begin to fall. Pittsburgh Hockey Now and our sister sites around the league have been speaking with league sources about numerous situations.