Restricted free agency in the NHL has been a good way for teams to keep their young talent under control until at least their age 26 season. Any outside team that would like to make an offer sheet to any RFA would have to pay a hefty price.
Seeing guys get offer sheeted is very rare in the NHL, as the last one we saw was in 2013 when Calgary tried to pry Ryan O’Reilly out of Colorado. The last offer sheet that was successful? It was in 2007 when the Oilers offer sheeted Dustin Penner to get him away from Anaheim. That led to Anaheim GM Brian Burke getting angry (nothing new there) and calling Kevin Lowe (Oilers GM) “gutless”, and allegedly led to a bar fight between the two of them.
I do believe the incident between Burke and Lowe has made GM’s very hesitant to offer sheet players. There have been only five offer sheets made since 2007. There were 29 between 1986-2006. I personally believe that Brian Burke handled that situation poorly. The NHL is a business and your competitors are always going to try and be better than you in any way possible. Taking offense to someone trying to get one of your players in the NHL is one of the softest things I have ever heard of.
I would like to see more offer sheets made in the NHL, and I think many other fans would agree. It is extremely entertaining to see GM’s squirm and try and retain their player. It also can be a good strategy to use against a cap crunched team within your division in order to put them in even bigger trouble.
If I’m an NHL team with cap space (Vegas), I would be looking to offersheet Mark Stone this year. I would throw 7 years at him for $8 million each year at the cost of a 1st, 2nd and 3rd. Mark Stone is an elite, two-way player and Ottawa is in a position to be bad for a very long time. If Ottawa matches, well, now they have to deal with the $8 million cap hit for the next 7 years while being a bad team.
Honestly, if I was Montreal, I would offer sheet William Nylander from the Leafs this year as well. They have the cap space to do it and need help in the scoring department. Nylander is 22 and is probably going to get David Pastrnak money ($6.5 million per range). Why not throw $8 million over 7 at him in order to add an extra $1.5 million on his deal for Toronto at least? Toronto is going to be a very cap strapped team within the next few years with guys like Marner and Matthews needing big deals as well. If they don’t match, well you get a fantastic player in William Nylander until his age 29 season. Don’t get me wrong, I would hate for this to happen, but I feel it would be a smart move by the Canadiens.
July 1st is right around the corner, let’s see some silliness!