There are only two free agents left unsigned in the National Hockey League and, of course, one has gathered all of the attention since the start of the 2018-19 season. Most insiders have been talking about the impasse between forward William Nylander and the Toronto Maple Leafs, however, the Anaheim Ducks have been undergoing the same process with winger Nick Ritchie.
The 22-year-old, who was selected in the first round, 10th overall back by the Ducks in the 2014 Entry draft, had missed the start of the season because of the contract dispute. For now, both 22-year-old forwards, selected two spots apart in the first round of the 2014 draft, have been waiting for an agreement with their respective teams, however, NHL insider Bob McKenzie just revealed on Insider Trading on TSN that Ritchie's impasse might be coming to an end...
"The deal is not done, but it does look like it's warmed up considerably to the point where there's a real possibility this could be done in the next number of days, certainly sometime this week, so long as there are no further hiccups.
"There's obviously been a breakthrough of sorts. It's expected to be a three-year deal for Nick Ritchie, assuming it gets consummated here in the next day or two or three."
It now seems like the Ritchie's impasse will come to an end before Nylander's. Ritchie has shown potential but hasn’t lived up to the expectations that teams attach to top-10 draft picks... However, since he was selected, he has played in 186 NHL regular season games scoring 59 points (0.32 ppg) and adding 4 goals in 19 (0.21 ppg) postseason appearances. Ritchie has proven however that he has quite a great shot, and could be an asset moving forward for the Ducks especially since they lost star forward Corey Perry to injury at the start of the campaign.
The Ducks remain a budget team, however, they might have been convinced to agree to a deal with Ritchie, despite their surprising 4-1-1 start already. They can surely thank their goaltender John Gibson for their success, and who knows, it seems like Ritchie will be able to join the Ducks sooner rather than later to help Anaheim keep up the good work.