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UFA Center Erik Haula Deciding Over a Dozen NHL Free Agency Offers

NHL free agent center Erik Haula can’t make up his mind when it comes to free agency. Is that because his up to 12 offers are no good?

The fact that Erik Haula has not signed in NHL free agency is not for a lack of interest by NHL organizations. According to a report by Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic, Haula is actually garnering lots of interest on the free agent market. In fact, there are so many offers, Haula is having a hard time deciding where to go.

For Haula, one of the most talked about centers on a market that didn’t have a lot of centers available, the issue isn’t a lack of options. The issue seems to be the offers themselves.

Because of the flat cap and the pandemic that has limited spending by teams, Haula has offers, it just sounds like a lot of them aren’t that great. Like Taylor Hall’s agent explained when the winger signed with the Buffalo Sabres, the market never materialized for Hall to make good money and go to a contender. Haula has been looking to pick his destination and make good money. LeBrun seems to hint that option might not be out there.

He writes, “Haula is Exhibit A of a player who in an ordinary year, pre-Covid, would have been signed by now.” His agent noted that there have been close to a dozen offers from teams, but didn’t provide information as to who lucrative or serious those offers were. LeBrun quotes Haula’s agent:

“We’re sorting through conversations that we’ve had with numerous teams,’’ Haula’s veteran agent Jay Grossman told me Monday. “Really we’ve probably talked to 10-12 teams that have had legitimate interest. We’re just sorting through those options.’’

What Will Haula Decide to Do?

With what sounds like a high quantity of, but potentially limited options, it will be interesting to see what Haula does. Is he going to wait until a team ups their bid? Will he sign something short-term and try this process again in an year or two’s time?

There is risk here for Haula in trying something small and gambling he can up his production. Injuries have been a big part of his NHL career over the last few seasons, including a serious knee injury and subsequent surgery that caused him to miss 15 games in 2018-19. He injured that same knee again and missed all of November.

LeBrun suggests Haula’s best bet is to avoid a one-year deal. Doing this all over again next offseason when money is even tighter may not be the right play.

Next: After Big Offseason Moves, GM Talks If Canadiens Can Keep Danault

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