All too often NHL teams have shied away from RFA offer-sheets because it is considered by many GM’s to be nothing more than poaching a roster. But, it’s not. What it really is; is an attempt by one team to mortgage their future on a potential star player. In this year’s RFA class there are few names that could be worth the price. Players like Vladimir Tarasenko, Brandon Saad, and Dougie Hamilton could become popular targets. The catch with a RFA offer-sheet is the team holding the contract must match the offer. Forcing teams to match money and terms is a little dangerous in a salary-cap driven system.
If you want to keep the talent that came from your system than you will have to pay one way or another, but in some ways an RFA offer-sheet can be a big slap in the face. The Chicago Blackhawks are sitting very close to the cap ceiling, and matching an offer for Saad could become more than costly. Perhaps the better idea here is get rid of RFA status, and just have UFA’s. Create an open market for players. Teams can always sign players to a new contract before they hit the market.
"Average Annual SalaryDraft Pick CompensationLess than $1,205,377No Compensation Needed$1,205,377-to-$1,826,3283rd. Round Draft Pick$1,826,328-to-$3,652,6592nd. Round Draft Pick$3,652,659-to-$5,478,9861st. and 3rd. Draft Pick$5,478,986-to-$7,305,3161st., 2nd, and a 3rd. Round Draft Pick$7,305,316-to-$9,131,645Two 1st, 2nd, and a 3rd. Round Draft Pick$9,131,645 or MoreFour 1st. Round Draft Picks"
In the case of Tarasenko; the Blues could have their hands full, but while offer-sheets are not league friendly they are allowed. Any team that thinks the Blues are not going to match the offer may need to wake up and stop dreaming. St. Louis cannot let a player like Tarasenko walk away. One thing that does need to be said is what St. Louis would get in return if they choose not to match an offer. Four first round picks would be heading into the Blues war room. In a lot of way I’d like to say don’t match the offer, but that’s not normally how things get done.
With Hamilton an offer-sheet could be a smart move. The upside on this 22-year-old defenseman is very big, and Boston may not have the cap space available to match a strong
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offer. It’s reported that Boston already has $63.2 million committed to 15 players for 2015-16, and the projected NHL Salary Cap is said to not be more than $71 Million. The Bruins needs to let some talent go.
As the salary cap era continues on NHL teams may start to use the RFA offer-sheets as an option to make sure they have talent available. Simply drafting won’t win the Stanley Cup. If the NHL wants to leave offer-sheets and an option than teams should really start thinking about how any years’ worth of picks is a star player worth? If a team is giving me four first round picks for my star player, and my team is not a contender; I’d really think about letting that player go.
It’s all a numbers game, and sometimes the numbers say good-bye. I think we cold be coming to a time when just because it’s taboo doesn’t mean don’t do it.
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