Saturday, June 14, 2008

Offers They Can't Refuse?

1) With free agency a mere 2 weeks away, we at FAUXRUMORS2 figured we go through who we believe would be potentially vulnerable/worth it to get an offer sheet this summer. To review, these are for 'restricted' free agents. That means that the players previous team still has the right to match any offer sheet that a team may give, but that franchise is locked into paying what was negotiated by the other team. If the original team declines to match, then compensation in the form of draft picks are awarded based upon the salary/size of the contract.

  • There would be no compensation for players getting an offer of less than $773,000

  • 773,442-$1,171,882, third-round pick

  • $1,171,882-$2,343,765, second-round pick

  • $2,343,765-$3,515,647, first- and third-round picks;

  • The compensation for a player offered $3.51 million to $4.68 million a year is a first-, second- and third-round pick.

  • For an offer of $4.68 million to $5.85 million, it's two first-round picks, a second and a third.

  • And a player earning more than $5.85 million would require four first-round picks as compensation.

2) Last summer we saw 2 significant offers placed. Both were by Kevin Lowe, who was described by our blog as desperate He almost guaranteed the Oiler fan base that the team would make a splash at the draft. When trades failed to materialize the natives got restless and it almost forced Lowe to make a 'bold' move. His offer to Buffalo's Thomas Vanek was matched by the sabres, who were none too happy with Lowe, but that was NOTHING compared to what would happen next.

3) Having been thwarted in his first attempt to land a big name, Lowe then went after Anaheim's Dustin Penner. Penner had just won a Cup, and played a big role along with team mates Ryan Getzlaf and Cory Perry to form a power trio that helped propel them to their win. Lowe made Penner an offer he would have been stupid to refuse. A 5 year, 21 million deal. For someone who made the league minimum it was a nice salary raise. The feud that resulted with his 'buddy' Brian Burke still smolders on.

4) So who will be available/vulnerable this time around? This is our list, although admittedly we may have missed a player or two, we feel it represents the players MOST likely to get interest from teams that were in Edmonton's position last summer; In need of a big name, AND has salary cap room. Keep in mind teams still have another 2 weeks to get these guys signed, so some may NOT be available to be snatched on July 1.

  • Jay Bouwmeester- As we have said in the past, Jay is the best defensemen no one knows about. The 24 year old would be a catch for any team. He's a big, puck-moving defenceman that plays well at both ends of the ice. Not many of those around. The Panthers/Jack Martin would be smart to give Jay a long term deal before other GM's try to nab him.

  • Marc-Andre Fleury- Before the playoffs we wouldn't have worried about teams trying to acquire M-A. However his performance, helping propel the Pens into the Finals, raised his value significantly. As we've talked about before from a salary cap perspective, the Penguins may have a tough time in securing Fleury, Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal over the next couple of seasons. A lucrative offer for their No. 1 goalie could make Shero/Mario sweat some, but they would probably match almost any offer.

  • Pascal Leclaire- Leclaire has finally emerged as the bonafide star the Jackets expected him to be when they took him eighth overall in the 2001 draft. The 25-year-old went 24-17-6 with nine shutouts with a struggling Columbus team. He was snubbed for an All star selection. With plenty of cap space its doubtful the Jackets would allow a team to acquire Pascal.

  • Mike Green- The 22 year old came into his own this past season, putting up impressive numbers of 18 goals(to lead all defenders) and 56 points (7th in the league) He teamed up with league MVP Alex Ovechkin to form a nice 1-2 PP punch for the Caps. The team has cap space, but will they be willing to take a chance and give him a big contract/long term deal? Is what they saw last season was not an aberration, but only the beginning for the former 1st rounder?

  • Pierre-Marc Bouchard- Bouchard has steadily improved his play as well as his statistics each season since entering the NHL in 2002 and has established himself as an excellent playmaker. Bouchard will be the Wild's No. 1 center next season and Doug Riseborough should lock him up as he hits the prime of his career. Getting him under contract may come at the expense Demitra or Rolston, but it would be worth the risk if he builds on his solid numbers.

  • Andrej Meszaros- The 22 year old Slovakian came out of no where 2 years ago; teaming with country-men Chara as the teams # 1 unit. Struggled some after Chara's departure, but all in all has had a solid first 3 seasons in Canada's capital. He usually puts in 'Top 4 minutes' and even some in 'No. 1' minutes during this past season. He could be vulnerable as Murray would have a tough time juggling a payroll weighted heavily towards the "Big Three": Daniel Alfredsson, Dany Heatley and Jason Spezza.

  • Joni Pitkanen- Pitkanen didn't exactly have a great year in 2007-08, missing 19 games with injuries and scoring a career-low 26 points in Edmonton. If another team is willing to give Pitkanen a big offer and bank on the chance that the 24-year-old will blossom, Lowe might just settle for the draft pick(s). We'd agree if Lowe doesn't match.

  • Andrei Kostitsyn- The 23 year old Belarussian had a breakout year in 2007-08, playing on Montreal's No. 1 line with Alex Kovalev and Tomas Plekanec. He had 29 goals and 53 points playing in his first full NHL season, showing that he has the potential to be an elite scorer in this league for years to come. Kostitsyn has publicly stated that he's happy in Montreal and having younger brother Sergei around is a big incentive to stay put. Negotiations though won't be easy.

  • Valtteri Filppula- The 24 year old Finn had a decent season/strong playoffs with the Wings. He wasn't a huge scorer with 19 goals/36 points in the regular season, but in the playoffs he was one of their prime defensive forwards and put up decent numbers, 5 goals-11 points. Its tough to try to predict how he'll progress over the next few seasons. His overall game is impressive, but the stats make it tough to put a firm dollar amount on him. Its likely the Wings would match most offers

  • Jeff Carter- Despite recent rumours that Philly is about to resign the 23 year old, as of this writing he was still to become a RFA. The Flyer projected payroll next season is about $48 million. Assuming the cap rises to the estimated $56 million, another GM could try to push Carter's salary close to the Flyer's ceiling. Carter, has shown to be a great two-way center with a good scoring touch, having scored a career-high 24 goals and 53 points in only his third NHL season. Definitely worth the offer sheet if we were a GM

  • Shea Weber- The 22 year old Nashville blueliner is a 'poor man's Dion Phaneuf' with his huge 6-foot-3, 200-plus pounder a powerful shot, thundering hits and a dominating presence at both ends of the rink. Like Bowmester, if he played in a big market/in Canada every one would know who he was. We would anticipate that GM Poile won't allow this gem to get away. If he's still unsigned in July, we would try to land him, hoping that The Preds ownership issues might scare them off from a big money commitment to Shea. He'd be worth the lost draft picks for sure.

  • Kari Lehtonen- The 24 year old didn't have a great season, but who did in Atlanta this past year? His win total was down from 34 to 17, but his save % was marginally better. It could be a case of a decent goalie in back of a dreadful team. A team without a goalie may try to land the big Finn.

  • Cory Perry- Led Anaheim in goals and power play goals this past season despite missing 12 games. We wouldn't foresee the Ducks allowing the 23 year old to be snapped up. They have some cap cushion, so Burke might not have to worry about Kevin Lowe this summer. ; )

  • Paul Gaustad-Not a big scorer/name free agent, but the 6'5" forward might be worth the loss of a 2nd or 3rd round pick

  • Marek Svatos- Overlooked by many who are listing potential RFA's but the former 30 goal scorer is coming off a third injury plagued season in Denver. Still he managed 26 goals in 62 games. The Slovak made 1.2 mil this past season. Would a GM take a chance on the forward? At the right price (under the 2.3 mil mark) we would consider it.

  • Wojtek Wolski-At only 22 the big Polish forward had another decent season for the Avalanche. He's finishing his entry level deal at 860K. The Av's will probably resign the left wing for a reasonable 1.5 mil, but we wouldn't be shocked to see an offer sheet from a GM who like this kids size and skill. We wouldn't give up multiple first rounders, but he might be worth what the Oil lost for Penner.

  • Jaroslav Halak- The well regarded Montreal goalie prospect is penciled in to be the team's back up to Cary Price next season. The 23 year old Slovak tender has had success in the AHL(2007 all rookie team) and has looked decent in limited playing time with the big club. Would a GM in need of goaltending depth, who believes Jaro is a future starter, take a shot at signing him away? Halak made the league minimum last year. Gainey will try to get him signed for under 750K if he can for the next season. Of course Halak can always threaten to go to Russia.

  • R. J. Umberger- Really blossomed in the playoffs for the Flyers. He was one of the many young up and coming forwards for Philly. He had 10 goals in this past post season and it couldn't have come at a better time for RJ's wallet. The Pittsburgh native made 1.2 mil this past season. He should be able to double that. With the other RFA's and other salary commitments the Flyers have (see Carter) RJ may be trade bait next week

  • Ryane Clowe- The big power forward missed large chunks of this season with a knee injury, but once he appeared healthy was among the better Sharks in the playoffs.(9 points in 13 games) It doubtful a team will take a chance on him with his injury history, but GM's love playoff performers so his stock is worth far more than before the post season. His 06-07 salary of 600K will be on the rise

  • Kyle Wellwood- The smallish Leafs center has yet to develop into the consistent scorer that Leafs management believed he was capable of. Injuries have also played a role in limiting his scoring recently. He has shown in spurts that he can score in the league, but we wouldn't risk much more than a 2nd rounder on him.

  • Shaone Morrisonn- Overlooked due to the fact that his defense partner, Mike Green puts up the big offensive numbers. However, even Green would tell you that his success can partly be attributed to the steady work of Shaone behind him, allowing Green to take the chances that resulted in his scoring outburst. The 6'4" Vancouver native could use his big frame better, but he has shown that he is a top 4 reliable defensemen


DMG said...

Good post, Faux. I didn't realize there were so many good players set to hit the RFA market.

HockeyNutz said...

I am not sure there will be as much RFA action as many think. There just are not enough Kevin Lowes out there yet.

There are only a few scenarios that it works any way.

1. A team offers more then a player is worth and the losing team doesn't match because the draft picks are worth it. (ala Dustin Penner).

2. A team is so tight to the Cap they can't afford to match unless they give up something else off their roster. (see Anaheim last year, Pittsburgh this year).

Generally most teams are able to match a reasonable offersheet without too much cap strain.

HockeyNutz said...

FYI - Marc Andre Fleury has been taken to arbitration by the Pens so he is no longer free to be signed as an RFA. He can't be signed by anyone other then the Pens now.

HockeyNutz said...

I think RFA offer sheets will be a progression that will take a few years to come to fruition. It started last year with Klowe and will grow this year but only by one or two players. In about 10 years RFAs signing elsewhere will be commonplace.

HockeyNutz said...

Oh this blog busted me!

Brokeback, Sausage and all the gay commentors are really me Hockeynutz. All the same guy. Faux I guess realized this and has been deleting all my other posts .

This has been a scam since the beginning.

He finally stumbled and revealed the truth!


1) Thanks DMG. Some of those admittedly may go to arbitration like the rangers did with Lundqvist and Avery last year, but many aren't eligiable
2) Nutz: Your admission is no surprise. We know your IP adress so it doesn't matter what new name(s) you create/use. Keep it on hockey and they'll remain. Get off track and they will be removed

The Dark Ranger said...

"Do you hear me soldier???? Am I being clear?"


A Hawk Admission, Faux by the internet's swearing prankster. Well done for holding out and overriding the storm. You have a higher tolerance than most...and, might I add, a higher understanding of the sport of hockey.

Keep it up...the many folk that visit appreciate the insight and inside.



1) Thanks TDR! After what took place last spring, we are resolute, and are going to stick it out and plan to stay right here for the foreseeable future!

Lyle said...

Gainey is not going to allow Kostitsyn to go anywhere

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