While very few restricted free agents have changed teams in the NHL's salary-cap era, how teams negotiate contracts for their young talent is a huge part of constructing a roster in the long term.
Whether the player is negotiating his second or third contract can have an effect on the money involved. The tweaks to the Collective Bargaining Agreement before the 2012-13 season could also have an impact on negotiations.
There are a lot of talented players who could command significant money this summer. Here's a look at some of the most interesting RFAs who need a new contract this offseason:
SOG: 201 | +/-: -1
The contract came with a slight wrinkle that could be the biggest cause for consternation this time around. It counted $5 million against the salary cap each season, but O'Reilly made $3.5 million in 2012-13 and $6.5 million in 2013-14.
Colorado has already filed for club-elected arbitration against O'Reilly. If the case goes to arbitration, O'Reilly would be able to select his term (one or two years) and would be awarded a monetary term of at least 85 percent of his previous season's salary ($5.525 million).
O'Reilly is a strong two-way player who can help drive possession. He might be more valuable to another team at center, his natural position, but he's typically played on the wing the past two seasons. He can qualify for unrestricted free agency in two seasons, depending on the length of his next contract.
SOG: 204 | +/-: -4
Subban's third contract is going to be significantly larger and more expensive than his second. He is a terrific defenseman and a charismatic personality, someone the phrase "franchise player" fits quite well.
SOG: 237 | +/-: 3
He's got 189 games of NHL experience, though he wasn't nearly as productive in his first two seasons. This deal will likely hinge on term; the longer the contract, the more money per season Johansen will likely want. A four-year deal would take him to UFA status, so five or more could include some large dollar figures.
GAA: 3.290000 | SVP: 0.911000
He also lost his starter's job in Toronto when Jonathan Bernier emerged this past season as a franchise goaltender. If the two sides decide to part ways, there don't appear to be any clear openings for a No. 1 goalie around the NHL.
Is Reimer one of the 30 best goalies in the NHL? Almost certainly, but he could be stuck as Bernier's backup. And if that's the case, what kind of contract does he agree to with Toronto? He can be a UFA after 2014-15.
SOG: 109 | +/-: -22
After two years of demonstrating strong offensive production but clear issues with puck possession and defensive inconsistency, what is Schultz worth? Do the Oilers still see him as a franchise defenseman who can eat up large minutes in the coming seasons?
SOG: 159 | +/-: 2
That's pretty much where his production has been the past four seasons. He and Sam Gagner are comparable players. Are either of them a No. 2 center on a good team? Will the Rangers try to add a marquee pivot and push Brassard to third on the depth chart?
Gagner signed a three-year deal worth $4.8 million per season with the Oilers, but that doesn't look like a great deal for Edmonton after this season.
SOG: 183 | +/-: 18
Krug put up 40 points this season to tie captain Zdeno Chara for the most among Boston defensemen. He had 19 points on the power play, tying him for the team lead with center David Krejci. Krug was also a strong possession player (55.4 Corsi-for percentage) on one of the League's best possession teams.
SOG: 146 | +/-: 28
Like Krug, Smith is 23 and coming off his entry-level contract, which had a $900,000 salary-cap charge. It wouldn't be shocking to see Smith and Krug sign similar contracts.
SOG: 188 | +/-: 28
Schwartz had 25 goals and 56 points in 80 games in 2013-14. He is one of three RFA forwards that are part of the Blues core, along with Patrik Berglund and Vladimir Sobotka. Schwartz has to be a top priority for GM Doug Armstrong because of his age and goal-scoring ability.---
NHL.com staff writer Corey Masisak contributed to this article