Rickard Rakell had an increased role with the Anaheim Ducks in 2015-16 and he made every minute count. But after a breakout season, Rakell is still awaiting a new contract with the Anaheim Ducks.
Rakell, 23, scored 20 goals and 43 points in 72 games with Anaheim this past season and the Ducks’ 2011 first-round selection, 30th overall, looked like every bit the core player Anaheim was hoping he would become. However, as the summer rolls on, the Ducks have been unable to lock him up to a new deal, but Rakell’s agent is hopeful that one will be coming before the season begins.
“We are talking and I think we will find common ground for a solid agreement as I feel both parties seem to want that to happen very much,” Rakell’s agent, Peter Wallen, told the OC Register’s Eric Stephens.
When it comes to Rakell, what exactly will common ground be, though? Because with his role on the club likely to increase and him showing signs of being a promising top-six forward, he should be in line for a healthy raise.
Over the past two seasons, there are 11 players who’ve put up similar numbers as Rakell and almost all of those players have recently signed or are in line for new deals, but among his closest comparisons — especially when considering the past season, which was Rakell’s best and most promising — are Nazem Kadri, Victor Rask, Mikael Backlund and Charlie Coyle. Each of those four players, like Rakell, scored between 17 and 22 goals this past season and racked up between 40 and 50 points during the last campaign.
Kadri’s six-year, $27-million deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs, which pays an average of $4.5 million per season, is probably the upper limit of what Rakell is set to earn, while Coyle’s five-year, $16-million deal with the Minnesota Wild, an average of $3.2 million per season, is likely the low end. The most likely comparisons boil down to two players, then, with Rask and Backlund each having signed their current deals over the course of the past 13 months.
That said, the versatility Rakell offers, and the ability to be a top-line center in a pinch, likely means his salary inches even closer to the $4 million average salary Rask is set to earn over the lifespan of his six-year, $24-million contract with the Carolina Hurricanes. Add in that Rakell has found somewhat of a fit on the top line with Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf and that likely means his asking price can go up, too.
There is one final comparison, though, and that’s the contract of Jakob Silfverberg. The 25-year-old Swedish winger has had consecutive 39-point seasons and cracked the 20-goal plateau this past campaign, not to mention a four-goal, 14-point performance in 18 games during the 2014-15 post-season. Silfverberg inked a four-year, $15-million deal in August 2015, and the $3.75-million cap hit might be exactly where the Ducks see Rakell fitting in.
Wallen’s confidence in Rakell and the Ducks finding a deal both sides are happy with is reassuring, but there’s little doubt he’s set to earn roughly $4 million per season on any contract he signs, with anything below $3.5 million per season would be an absolute steal for the Ducks.
And with Anaheim still needing to take care of a contract for defenseman Hampus Lindholm, you can be sure the Ducks want to figure out Rakell’s deal sooner rather than later.
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