Offer sheets are an interesting wrinkle in the NHL’s free agency period; a rarely used but powerful tool to try and steal away young talent from rival clubs. Though we may not see any this season – the last one to be signed was by Ryan O’Reilly in 2013 – there are a few interesting names out there that could possibly draw interest from other teams. Let’s take a quick look at some of the offer sheet rules for this season:
- Teams can submit offer sheets to restricted free agents as of July 1st at 11:00 am central time. Players can choose to sign them at any point after that.
- If a player signs an offer sheet, his original team has seven days in which to match the deal or else accept the compensation. During this time they cannot be traded.
- Compensation is as follows (according to Elliotte Friedman):
Less than $1.239MM (average annual value of contract) – Nothing;
$1.239-$1.878MM – Third-round pick;
$1.878-$3.755MM – Second-round pick;
$3.755-$5.633MM – First and third-round picks;
$5.633-$7.510MM – First, second and third-round picks;
$7.510-$9.388MM – Two first, a second and third-round picks;
Over $9.388MM – Four first-round picks.
- Teams must have the picks available before signing the player, or else the offer sheet will be considered null and void.
Some hefty prices to pay if a team goes after a big name to be sure, but sometimes deemed worth it; the Flyers would have faced stiff compensation penalties had Nashville not decided to match their 14-year, $110MM offer to Shea Weber in 2012 (one that would no longer be allowed under the seven-year contract limit). Here are some names that might just be worth the risk:
D Seth Jones – The Columbus Blue Jackets have huge cap issues at the moment and are desperately trying to rid themselves of some of their bad deals. After trading young star Ryan Johansen for Jones mid-season, they now need to find a way to re-sign the former fourth overall pick.
Jones is just 21, and has performed admirably in his first three seasons in the league, racking up 83 points in 240 games. If someone were to sign Jones to a long-term deal, the Blue Jackets would have a very difficult time matching it without finding a taker for some of their cap-hits. The team is already just $5MM under the cap, with close to $20MM committed to their blueline.
Whether Jones actually recieves any offers, or it’s just used as a negotiating tactic in order to pry some value out of the Blue Jackets in future trades, his name will surely come up in many talks this summer.
D Jacob Trouba – Another top-10 pick who is part of a deep defensive corps Trouba is considered available this summer on the trade market, and should be considered an offer sheet risk as well. While the Jets have much more cap room available, they already have three defencemen signed for over $5MM per season and might not be able to commit to a fourth.
Trouba has put up 72 points in 211 career games, and is considered a potential top-pairing blueliner in the future. Many teams could add him to their back end and thrust him into the spotlight in his fourth season. A long-term deal could be had, buying out free agent years and pushing that AAV up into un-matchable territory.
The Jets also have to worry about next year’s expansion draft, where they’ll be in danger of losing one of their young defencemen. Dustin Byfuglien and Toby Enstrom both have no-movement clauses that ensure their protection, leaving just one protection slot for both of Tyler Myers and Trouba (unless they choose the 8 skater option and risk some young forwards instead).
D Hampus Lindholm – The best player listed here, Lindholm has turned into an excellent defender for the Anaheim Ducks over the last few years. His case is one of worry for them as he could easily be offered a seven-year deal from teams around the league.
After signing Sami Vatanen last week, the Ducks now have five blueliners under contract for more than $3MM per season and adding a big deal that pushes $50MM could prove too pricey. If a team believes that Lindholm is the number 1 defenceman that he seems, they could decide to give up the picks in order to pry him away.
The Ducks have already dealt Frederik Andersen to save cap room and avoid losing him in the expansion draft, and they still have work to do before next summer. With Cam Fowler said to be on the market, perhaps he’ll be the victim of a looming Lindholm offer sheet.