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Point, Lightning 'a ways apart' on contract, agent says

Restricted free agent forward has missed start of training camp @NHLdotcom

Brayden Point and the Tampa Bay Lightning aren't close to agreeing to terms on a contract, his agent said Thursday.

"We're a ways apart right now, but like I said, I say all the time, you can do a deal in a day if you're so inclined, so things can move quickly, but we're not that close frankly," Gerry Johannson told TSN 650. "I'm a little surprised we're this far apart this late, but on the other hand, every negotiation is a little bit different."

The restricted free agent center had 92 points (41 goals, 51 assists) in 79 games last season and led the NHL in power-play goals (20). The 23-year-old tied for sixth in goals and 12th in points and was tied for fourth among forwards in plus-minus (plus-27).

Point was not with the Lightning when they opened training camp Sept. 12.

"We're in a situation where we are missing camp but it wasn't our plan or it wasn't our intention," Johannson said. "But certainly, I think getting a deal that is fair for him is really important for him and for us."

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mitchell Marner, who was a restricted free agent, signed a six-year, $65.3 million contract (almost $10.9 million average annual value) on Sept. 13.

"It's a very good deal and I think that that certainly is a mark on the board that we work off of," said Johannson, who didn't dismiss the idea that Point could sign a short-term contract.

Several high-profile restricted free agents, including Vancouver Canucks forward Brock Boeser (three years, $5.875 million average annual value), Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy (three years, $4.9 million AAV), and Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski (three years, $5 million AAV) recently signed short-term contracts.

"We're pretty open. We've been open to pretty much any scenario," Johannson said. "Again, I think we try not to narrow ourselves too much. [Tampa Bay's] situation is unique, they've got a really good team. They've got some of their top players signed up long term. A lot of their guys have done bridge (short-term) deals. A bridge deal is certainly on the table, there's no doubt about that."

Point is among a group of high-profile restricted free agent forwards who remain unsigned, including Mikko Rantanen of the Colorado Avalanche, Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor of the Winnipeg Jets, and Matthew Tkachuk of the Calgary Flames.

"I think there's pressure on everybody to get a deal done, but it certainly helps as more deals get wrapped up and there's fewer players on the board," Johannson said. "I think it puts pressure on the team for sure, and us as well to try and find some middle ground to get some things wrapped up."

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