By Tim Waugh
Arizona Coyotes Writer
Coyotes winger Tobias Rieder has made quite the name for himself in Arizona. Since being traded from Edmonton in 2013 for Kale Kessy, Rieder has notched 58 points over 154 games in both of his NHL seasons, for the Coyotes. At just the beginning of his career, Rieder is off to a great start garnering attention from around the league with his speed, skill and defensive play, along with his most recent appearance with the underdog finalists Team Europe in the resurrected World Cup of Hockey. More recently, however, the press has been surrounding the current contract talks between his camp and the Arizona Coyotes.
Rieder remains an RFA after his most recent three-year, $925k deal expired last season. His play as of last year demands a pay raise, there is no doubt, and both sides prepared for negotiations heading into the off-season. But that’s exactly where things hit a standstill, negotiations. Reports indicate the most recent attempt at a deal met with Chayka and the Coyotes offering $2.2 million per year while Rieder’s camp requested closer to $2.5-$2.7 million per year. The pay isn’t far off, but the term in mind for both sides is whats vastly different. While GM Chayka suggested a lower-price qualifying offer as well to compliment his longer term one, presumably to get Rieder back at the negotiating table for one year and to see if his play keeps improving, Rieder and his agent Darren Ferris are not impressed. “It would be best for both parties if they just traded him.” stated Ferris in an email to Craig Morgan of ArizonaSports.com.
What is causing a rift here, is term. Arizona wants to ultimately lock Tobi in long-term at a team-friendly price, and Rieder wants the ability to earn his raise sooner than later. Such is the plight of an RFA who’s potential is unforeseen by many. Shooting up from the same round (4th) of the same draft (2011) as the player traded for him, Rieder has risen from AHL probable to NHL regular. He has certainly made a case for himself with his 16-point increase to last season from the one prior, but with the way negotiations are looking, it might be too little too late to wet the lips of the Coyotes. With cheap, highly touted prospects on entry-level contracts itching to break onto the NHL roster, Rieder has less leverage than he would have two or three years ago.
Trade rumours have started to swirl, speculations have begun, names and propositions are being posted, tweeted and blogged. None of this means Rieder and the Coyotes being a doomed relationship is for certain, but with KHL deals offered to him, trades possibly being drafted up by other teams, and time till the season’s start wearing thin, Tobias Rieder has a lot of decisions to make and not a lot of time to make them.