Jump to content
  • entries
  • comments
  • views

Where Have Offer Sheets Gone?

It's a Canadian Game


blog-0937347001405399197.jpgWell it’s been almost two weeks since the NHL free agency signing period started and things have started to quiet down. The majority of the interest has now shifted from unrestricted free agents to restricted free agents and salary arbitration cases.

Early last week a rumour came out of a Montreal radio station reporting that the Canadiens were prepared to offer young Boston Bruins defenceman Torey Krug an offer sheet.

Though many were skeptical about the credibility of the report and some confirmation that Krug wasn’t eligible to be given an offer sheet, nonetheless the report brings up an interesting idea that in recent years we have seen almost completely eliminated from the game; the use of offer sheets.

In the NHL there has become a moral code it seems among general managers around the league when it comes to offering contracts to restricted free agents, in the hopes of stealing them out of their respected clubs.

Though the risk that also comes with making offer sheets is that the team making the offer must comply with a pre-determined compensation to the team they take the player from. This compensation is pre-determined based on the salary that the offer sheet is signed for. Globe and Mail hockey writer James Mirtle outlines the compensation agreement here: https://twitter.com/mirtle/status/484009107272519680/photo/1.

It’s happened just a handful of times in the last few years with the last being in 2013 when the Calgary Flames attempted to lure Ryan O’Rielly out of Colorado. Eventually, the Avs matched the Flames’ two-year $10 million dollar bid.

In 2006 the Philadelphia Flyers offered then-Vancouver Canuck Ryan Kesler an offer sheet to lure him to Philadelphia. At the time the offer sheet made big news around the NHL and the Vancouver Canucks at the time made it clear that they weren’t happy with the Flyers front office.

It was situations such as this one that has caused teams to be careful not to step on other teams’ toes in a non-written code of, you don’t sign my players I won’t sign yours. But why not?

Of course it has happened as I mentioned a few times in the last few years, with players such as Shea Weber, Nicklas Hjalmarsson, and David Backes, but just nine offers made dating back to 1998, with just one being accepted.

At the time when the Flyers went after Kesler, Kesler had yet to produce huge numbers. The Flyers saw the potential in him and put the pressure on the Canucks to keep him, which would be a similar stance taken if the Habs did offer a contract to Krug (all hypothetical of course).

Krug has proven in his short time in the NHL that he can be an offensive force on the blueline and his offensive skills will only get better and better as he gets older, so what better time to go after him then now.

Last season Krug made just over $1.7 million while putting up decent numbers, especially for a player playing in just his first full season in the NHL. Now, if you are the Bruins it might be too early to decide whether you want to commit a large upgrade in pay to Krug, as he is still so young. However, if you are another team like the Habs and you feel confident you can probably offer him a deal in the $4 million range, a number that if he does pan out the way he might, would be a good deal for a good defenceman.

Yet, for the Bruins it could be too much money to invest for a player that might not pan out. $4 million would also be a hefty number for Boston as they are already sitting tight when it comes to the salary cap, a reason why signing Jarome Iginla may not have panned out for them. (Iginla signed with the Colorado Avalanche on July 1st).

Looking at the list of restricted free agents, there is many other interesting names out there that, if teams were willing to break the non-written code, could really benefit them in the long run. Names such as P.K. Subban, Nino Neiderreiter, Ryan Johansen, Mats Zuccarello, and Reilly Smith, just to name a few.

These names stick out because like Krug, each player here put up good numbers this season, but are coming off season where looking now they made a lot less money than they are likely to make next year and into the future.

Subban made just under $3 million, Neiderreiter also made just under $3 million, Zuccarello made just over $1 million, Johansen made just under $2 million, and Smith made $900,000 so each of them could argue for higher salaries and with them each being very young players, teams may be weary to pay up.

It’s a very interesting situation. Of course like recent years, we shouldn’t expect much to be done to take these players out of their current homes, but the fact is that in a time where teams try so hard to cash in at free agency and trade deadline it’s surprising that more teams don’t take this root to improve their rosters.

Follow me on Twitter: @Craig_Hagerman


Recommended Comments

Zuccarello and Subban filed for arbitration, and therefore are ineligible to receive an offer sheet.

Aww true. Likely best for them, especially Subban is definitely deserving of a huge pay increase and Zucs could also have a good case for a steep increase. 

Link to comment

In the NHL there has become a moral code it seems among general managers around the league when it comes to offering contracts to restricted free agents, in the hopes of stealing them out of their respected clubs.



This is dangerously close to collusion.

  • Like 1
Link to comment

Things would be a lot more interesting if the compensations weren't so dramatic or steep. You would likely see more offer sheets I feel and then stepping on peoples toes wouldn't be such a big deal. 

Link to comment
Add a comment...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...