Playing as GM of St. Louis Blues, right now at FA market before 2022/23 season. I trade for rights for Shane Bowers three seasons ago. Now 23 yo player (Calder Trophy winner, one full season in AHL and two full in NHL - 44 goals, 112 points, 70 +/- in 161 NHL games). Now he is without contract and demanding 2.5M per year (three years contract). Which I would give him, but board will accept only 2.1M per year (even I am at 59M av. club salary). My question is, any way to sign him by his demanding numbers?
Also, I am kinda struggling with first line centers, no matter what, all my centers prospects (NHLers too, traded for lot of centers because of this) are struggling with avarage 6.00-7.00 rating and almost every second match they have 5.0 rating. No matter which one i put there. Wingers in first line are doing great, Tarasenko with 3rd Maurice Richard Trophy in 3 last seasons and Serron Noel (21 yo prospect - also Calder Trophy winner) with 7.80 rating in his first year. Don't know what I need to do there.