Though it is almost never used in today’s NHL, the idea of an offer sheet still intrigues fans and media alike. Signing a restricted free agent out from under the nose of a rival, taking a superstar away in his prime. Brett Barrett broke it down for us earlier this month, when he took a look at some of the top available names on the RFA market this summer. We’ve seen examples of offer sheets in the past, with Shea Weber signing a 14-year contract with Philadelphia in 2012, only to have it matched by Nashville. The Predators would have received four first-round picks had they let the then-26-year old Norris runner-up walk away.
Offer sheet compensation is based on the average salary of the league, something that Elliotte Friedman reports has gone up to ~$3.01MM this season, a 4.55% bump from a year ago. Because of it, the compensation has been set and Friedman has provided a breakdown.
|$1,295,571 or less||No compensation|
|$1,295,571 to $1,962,968||Third-round pick|
|$1,962,968 to $3,925,975||Second-round pick|
|$3,925,975 to $5,888,960||First and third-round picks|
|$5,888,960 to $7,851,948||First, second and third-round picks|
|$7,851,948 to $9,814,935||Two firsts, a second and third-round picks|
|Over $9,814,935||Four first-round picks|
This season has an impressive group of RFAs headlined by players like Leon Draisaitl, David Pastrnak and Ryan Johansen (among many, many others). There will be much speculation over a possible offer sheet, but they’re used more as a negotiating tactic for the player than a real option for teams looking to acquire talent. Even if they are signed, the player is hardly ever allowed to leave.
It is important to note, that to sign a player to an offer sheet a team must still have their own original picks for the compensation. That means they can’t go out and deal for picks in order to sign a player. Compensation would begin from the 2018 draft, as none of the sheets could be signed until July 1st when these players become free agents. Another small note, is that if a team does decide to match an offer sheet to retain the player they cannot trade him for an entire year afterwards.