This is the first in a series of short explanations of common misconceptions about hockey and the NHL. Check this blog out tomorrow for the next one, on one-way/two-way contracts.
As the offseason is now upon us, once again the subject of contract offers is being heavily discussed. While the majority of the focus is on pending UFAs, some attention is being paid to potential RFAs and the offer sheets that can be made to them. And once again, many NHL fans are demonstrating their complete lack of understanding when it comes to offer sheets.
What It Is: An offer sheet is a contract agreed to by a restricted free agent and a club other than the one who currently owns his rights. The club owning his rights has the choice of matching the contract or receiving set draft pick compensation from the new team, based on the size of the contract.
Misconception One: Teams Can Steal RFAs From Each Other. This simply isn’t true. The original team always has the right to match the offer sheet as is, with no further negotiation. The player signing an offer sheet has to be comfortable with signing that very same contract with his current team, as that is the most likely outcome. Even if the original team rejects the contract, they will receive set draft pick compensation based on the player’s new salary.
Misconception Two: Players Have No Say. I am constantly seeing fans propose offer sheets to players that would likely have no interest in signing with their franchise. They seem to think that any offer sheet made to a player has to be accepted, but this is definitely not true. We never hear about the actual amount of offer sheets made in an offseason, as they are only made public when the player agrees to them. Unless the player agrees to the offer sheet, nothing happens at all, which is probably by far the most frequent outcome.
Misconception Three: Teams Making Offer Sheets Are Just Interested in Acquiring That Player. Sometimes, there is more to an offer sheet. Teams can structure offer sheets so that they hurt rival teams when they are forced to match them. We saw this in the Shea Weber offer sheet from the Flyers in 2012. The Flyers structured their offer sheet in a front-loaded manner, ensuring that the cash-strapped Predators would be financially crippled by matching the offer. This was considered dirty pool by some.
Current Draft Pick Compensation For Offer Sheets:
|2015-16 Averaged Salary||Draft Pick Compensation|
|$1,205,377 and below||No compensation|
|$1,205,377 to $1,826,328||Third-round pick|
|$1,826,328 to $3,652,659||Second-round pick|
|$3,652,659 to $5,478,986||First- and third-round pick|
|$5,478,986 to $7,305,316||First-, second-, and third-round pick|
|$7,305,316 to $9,131,645||Two first-round picks and a second- and third-round pick|
|$9,131,645 and above||Four first-round picks|
Potential 2015-16 Offer Sheet Targets:
Rickard Rakell, ANA
Sami Vatanen, ANA
Tobias Rieder, ARI
Michael Stone, ARI
Torey Krug, BOS
Andrew Shaw, CHI
Tyson Barrie, COL
Seth Jones, CBJ
Val Nichushkin, DAL
Teemu Pulkkinen, DET
Vincent Trocheck, FLA
Matt Dumba, MIN
Kyle Palmieri, NJD
Dylan McIlrath, NYR
Cody Ceci, OTT
Tomas Hertl, SJS
Jaden Schwartz, STL
Vlad Namestnikov, TBL
Sven Baertschi, VAN
Dmitry Orlov, WAS
Tom Wilson, WAS