Denis Grebeshkov (RFA): Turning 26, and I believe he was arbitration eligible. Coming off a 39 point season, and not much production previous seasons. Considered a flight risk to Russia (already done it once). Signed a 1 year contract worth $3.15 million.
Tom Gilbert (RFA): Turning 25, and I believe he was arbitration eligible. Coming off a 33 point first full season in the NHL. Gave up 3 years of UFA to sign a 6 year, $4 million a year contract.
Tobias Enstrom (RFA): At the age of 24 with a year left on his ELC, Enstrom signed a 4 year contract worth $3.75 million a year. The contract came after his first year in the league scoring 38 points.
Matt Hunwick (RFA): After putting up 27 points in just over 50 games in his first season, Hunwick signed for $1.45 million a year at the age of 24.
Cam Barker (RFA): After 2 partial seasons in the NHL and a full season where he scored 40 points, Barker signed a 3 year deal worth just over $3 million a year. Threat of becoming an UFA did exist.
Itís pretty difficult to compare Niskanen to one guy. Heís not a flight risk like Grebeshkov, heís younger than Gilbert, and (unless the Stars are idiots) thereís no risk of him becoming an UFA.
Despite his defensive struggles (I still thought he finished the year strong in that regard), he is a great offensive producer. After not seeing a ton of time on the PP his rookie season, his role increased some his 2nd year. I believe his 3rd year, he could see significant PP time. Plus, heíll have 3 years of service compared to the rest of these players. IMO, he could break 40 points this year after increasing his point total from 26 to 35 in his first 2 years.
The most difficult thing to predict is whether or not heíll sign a long term deal. Map94 made a good point regarding Eriksson that the Stars donít hand out many long term deals to players with a few years left as RFAs.
Based on Barker (and taking into account the chance he could have become an UFA), Iíll say Niskanen will sign for $2.5 to $3 million on a 3 year contract.
I think Niskanen might just point to Daley's contract and say he wants a better deal than that. It would be hard to argue he doesn't. If they give Niskanen 3 years, he would still be an RFA after the deal, so I think 3 years might be likely for him. I think the Stars will want to do 2 years, but will lose that battle.