One of the most exciting and simultaneously disappointing parts of the current offseason structure is the offer sheet. While fans and media alike speculate on who will get one each year, it’s almost never done. Interestingly, now we have a former management voice also speaking up about how he’d like offer sheets to play a bigger part in the NHL summer. Frank Provenzano, a former assistant general manager with the Washington Capitals and Dallas Stars, is now a writer for The Athletic, and penned an article today looking at why teams don’t give out many offer sheets. In it he talks about how he used to try and get his team to use them:
When I was in charge of negotiating NHL contracts, I pushed to find offer sheet candidates EVERY summer. And yet I never made a single one. I can tell you first hand it wasn’t because of some fear of pissing off another GM. It was because the offer sheet lever, as it’s currently constructed, simply doesn’t work.
It’s a fascinating look behind the curtain of NHL front offices, as Provenzano explains why the current compensation structure doesn’t allow offer sheets to be signed very often. The long-standing belief that teams just didn’t want to incite a run on their own restricted free agents is challenged, and from first hand knowledge. It’s definitely a worthwhile read, as is so much coming out of the Athletic these days.
- On the theme of contract structures, Puck Daddy’s Ryan Lambert examines bridge deals and their effect on eventual player salaries. Citing Ryan Johansen as the latest example, Lambert wonders why team’s aren’t more willing to “pay up” coming out of an entry-level contract instead of spending big on post-prime years. Johansen will be earning $8MM per year through his age-32 season, something that wouldn’t have happened had he signed a long-term deal in 2014 instead of a bridge deal. Interestingly, this is the approach the Oilers have taken with Connor McDavid, instead of perhaps saving some money on a shorter term deal that doesn’t buy out as many UFA years. Could it end up costing them when McDavid hits the open market at age-29?
- Adam Kimelman of NHL.com caught up with Mike Babcock at the World Junior Summer Showcase, where the Toronto Maple Leafs coach is presumably scratching his hockey itch by watching some of the best young players in the world. The conversation turned to Auston Matthews, who Babcock believes can be even better this season. After scoring 40 goals and 69 points as a rookie and almost unanimously taking home the Calder trophy, Babcock thinks the improvements to his defensive game and pace of play will allow him to have the puck even more and dominate play. Matthews turns 20 in September, and will be a big part of any return to the playoffs for the Maple Leafs in 2017-18.
- NBC has announced its nationally televised schedule for the upcoming season, which includes three games each from the aforementioned Matthews and McDavid. The first Vegas Golden Knights’ home game will also be on national television, when they face off against the Arizona Coyotes on October 10th.