The NHL has restricted free agency for a reason, but instead of it being a way for talent-deprived teams to sign away top young players, offers sheets are ignored and never used. The last offer sheet signed was five years ago when Ryan O’Reilly signed an offer sheet with the Calgary Flames in 2013 and there have only been eight offer sheets signed in the salary cap era.
After all, with a weak unrestricted free agent class this season, teams would benefit if they had an equally good chance at competing for restricted free agents. This year’s restricted free agent class is quite impressive. Led by Vegas’ William Karlsson, Ottawa’s Mark Stone, Winnipeg’s Jacob Trouba and Toronto’s William Nylander, teams should be making a move on some of these players.
Sportsnet’s Sean McIndoe writes the main reason for the lack of offer sheets comes down to the compensation that is returned if a team allows a team to leave. The scribe writes that the compensation is not good enough and forces teams to sign their restricted free agents regardless of their cap situation. He points out that the compensation looks impressive when dealing with a player that makes more that $10.15MM per year. A team that signs a restricted free agent in that bracket would receive four first-round picks. Unfortunately, few players are in that salary bracket unless your name is Connor McDavid. If he was a restricted free agent, any team would give up four first-rounders for McDavid.
If the NHL wants to improve on restricted free agency, then they must double the compensation so teams really need to think about whether they would rather have that player or let him go and take the compensation package. Unfortunately right now, no team wants the compensation package.
- Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun writes that unrestricted free agent Chris Wideman said that he wants to return to the Ottawa Senators next season, but isn’t sure he’s in the team’s plans for next season. The 28-year-old defenseman said he talked to general manager Pierre Dorion recently and was told that the organization had other matters to attend to before addressing whether they plan to bring him back. Wideman missed most of the season last year after having surgery in December to repair a torn hamstring after Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin fell on him on Nov. 16. Used as a depth defenseman for his three years in Ottawa, he averaged a career-low 11:33 of ATOI in 16 NHL contests, despite putting up eight points in that time period.
- Stu Cowan of The Montreal Gazette writes that general manager Marc Bergevin said today that the team is willing to trade the No. 3 pick in the NHL Entry Draft. “I’ll listen, I’m open,” Bergevin said. “I’ve told teams if they want to make me an offer, I’ll look at it. But again, sometimes teams don’t want to move up. As much as a team wants to move back or move up, if there’s no takers or buyers then you just sit where you’re at.”