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Projecting Rasmus Andersson’s Next Contract

Andersson could be in the Top 4 or even Top 2 next season

NHL: Calgary Flames at Carolina Hurricanes James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

While a pair of RFA’s are still awaiting a resolution to their negotiations this offseason, I thought it was a good time to look ahead to the Flames biggest pending RFA for next summer.

Rasmus Andersson fought his way into the lineup during training camp last year and stuck with the Flames for the entire season, dressing in 79 games. After getting a taste of the NHL in prior years, Andersson really solidified his place on the defensive core as the season continued. For most of the year, Andersson skated on an all-rookie pairing with either Juuso Valimaki or Oliver Kylington.

However as the season continued and patience for T.J. Brodie wore thin, Andersson found himself on the top pairing alongside Norris trophy winner Mark Giordano on numerous occasions. It’s during these stints on the top pairing that Flames management and fans got to see glimpses of how high Andersson’s ceiling could be. Of course we can’t fully discount the idea of the “Giordano effect” as he’s made all of his partners look better over the last half decade or so.

Andersson posted 2 goals and 19 points in 2018-19, the most for any Flames rookie defenseman since Dion Phaneuf had 49 points in 2005-06. It’s safe to assume that he’ll put up a lot more this season, especially if he gets extended playing time in the Top 4. Andersson also had a shooting percentage at 1.7% last year, that should increase as he starts to find space to use his cannon of a slapshot.

Let’s say Andersson dresses in 75 games for the Flames and puts up 30 points this year. That would give him 165 NHL games played and 49 points at the end of his ELC. The question would then become: What is he worth?

I pulled together a number of comparable players, their games played and points at the end of their ELC, and their subsequent contracts.

Andersson Comparables

Player Team Year Total ($) Term AAV ($) Gms Played Points Drafted
Player Team Year Total ($) Term AAV ($) Gms Played Points Drafted
Brandon Carlo BOS 2019 TBD TBD TBD 230 32 Rd 2, #37
Rasmus Ristolainen BUF 2016 32.4M 6 5.4M 194 65 Rd 1, #8
Brett Pesce* CAR 2017 24.15M 6 4.025M 151 36 Rd 3, #66
Damon Severson NJ 2017 25M 6 4.166M 203 68 Rd 2, #60
Travis Sanheim PHI 2019 6.5M 2 3.25M 131 45 Rd 1, #17
Olli Maatta CHI/PIT 2016 24.5M 6 4.083M 165 57 Rd 1, #22
Hampus Lindholm ANA 2016 31.5M 6 5.206M 236 108 Rd 1, #6
Jakob Chychrun ARI 2019 27.6M 6 4.6M 171 54 Rd 1, #16

* Extended the summer before the end of his ELC

On Wednesday morning New Jersey Devils defenceman Will Butcher signed a 3yr/3.73M AAV deal and Colorado Avalanche defenceman Samuel Girard signed a 7yr/5M AAV deal.

Based on the comparable contracts, there has been a trend of locking up young defenders on long-term deals with relatively low cap hits compared to forwards signing long-term deals after their ELC. Andersson seems to most closely align with guys like Brett Pesce, Olli Maatta, Sam Girard, and Travis Sanheim.

With this being the case, it looks like a reasonable range on an AAV is somewhere around 3.2-3.8M on a bridge deal, and 4.3-5.0 on a long term deal. If Calgary is smart (which they have been on RFA’s), they’ll lock Andersson up for at least the six year term as has been the norm in the NHL of late. They did the same thing with Noah Hanifin last summer. Andersson could turn out to be really good value if that’s the case as well, because his development seems to have only just begun.

The only “concern” heading into next season is if Andersson is paired up with Giordano and has a huge season to increase his AAV substantially. Thus, it would be smart to try and lock him up now, just as Colorado did with Girard today. If Brodie isn’t traded, keeping him with Gio and allowing Andersson and Valimaki to generate some chemistry on the third pair may not be a bad idea. Those two could very well be the top pairing of the future for the organization, so some playing time together now could benefit them.

If Calgary can end up getting Andersson signed to a deal with 5+ years and around a $4.6M cap hit, I think it’s safe to say that his deal could end up surpassing Elias Lindholm’s contract in terms of value in the not too distant future.