Which NHL restricted free agents are going to get the biggest pay raises in the summer of 2012? Here's my top 5; taking into consideration that a player like Shea Weber will probably get the most money of any RFA, but he also made $7.5M last season. The players below all made $1.3M or less in 2011/12, and will be making considerably more than that next season.
1) Erik Karlsson, Ott: If he wins the Norris, which he probably will, he'll probably be looking for Drew Doughty money, and Doughty has never won a Norris trophy. He will cost Ottawa at least $6.5M, but could go as high as $7.5M annual cap hit. Ottawa will be trying to get more of a Keith Yandle type deal. He rejuvenated the career of Jason Spezza.
2) Jamie Benn, Dal: It will be interesting to see what this settlement turns out to be. He's proven to be one of the most valuable players on the Stars, but the team might play hardball given their financial hardships. They'll want to give him a similar contract to Loui Eriksson, but consider that $4.2M is a bargain price, Benn could ask for more.
3) PK Subban, Mtl: He should at least triple his salary on his next contract, but we'll see what kind of number he's got in mind and what kind of number Bergevin has in mind. If he thinks that he's worth north of $4M, it might be tough to get a deal done.
4) Michael Del Zotto, NYR: The most valuable offensive defenseman on the Rangers, after a strong performance in the playoffs he should be getting at least $4M-$5M. The Rangers would ideally like to keep him in the Girardi range of $3.3M, which is a bargain.
5) Ryan O'Reilly, Col: If the Avalanche just gave David Jones $4M for 4 years after a 37 point season, how much will they give O'Reilly after scoring 55 PTS? He could get Stastny money.