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How a 21-Year-Old Holds an NHL Team for Ransom: Restricted Free Agents Explained

By September 22, 2011

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NHL training camps opened this week with a couple of significant young players locked in contract disputes.

Kyle Turris is on the outs with the Phoenix Coyotes. That's a big headache for the team, but hardly a crisis.

If you want crisis, look to Los Angeles, where the Drew Doughty impasse threatens to cut down a promising Kings' season before it even begins.

The Kings insist it's business as usual without their franchise defenseman. They aren't fooling anyone.

Doughty's absence hangs over the team like a guillotine.

With the general manager taking a hard line and denying trade rumors, fans can only hope and plead for a resolution.

Doughty, a 21-year-old expected to own NHL blue lines for the next couple of decades or so, is a restricted free agent.

What does that mean? What are his options? Can another team make a move?

For the answers to all that and more, check our explanation of Restricted Free Agents in the NHL.

(Photo: Jeff Gross/Getty Images.)

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