For those who have been curious over the last several weeks wondering if an NHL club would throw an offer-sheet to superstar players such as the Devils Zach Parise and the Predators Shea Weber you can put the idea to rest. In what seemed like a formality, both New Jersey and Nashville protected their most prized assets by filing for arbitration. Whether these players actually go to arbitration remains to be seen.
At any rate, this eliminates another club from sticking it to either of these franchises and forcing them to pay their player more than intended.
Both sides can still negotiate a long-term contract and avoid an Arb hearing altogether. If they do end up going to arbitration they cannot sign the player to a contract longer than one year.
There are a few ways to look at offer sheets. Either a team truly wants the player or they use arbitration as a weapon with the full intention of hurting another team.
Last summer we saw this with San Jose and Chicago as the Sharks signed D-man Niklas Hjalmarsson to a four year, $14 million offer sheet. San Jose knew they would either be getting the defenseman or goaltender Antti Niemi as Chicago would not be in position to sign both. Chicago matched the Hjalmarsson offer and the Sharks ended up with the goalie.
Offer sheets can certainly get nasty as in the case of Vancouver and St. Louis a few summers ago. The Blues were not happy with the Canucks signing David Backes to an offer sheet that paid the young power forward $7.5 million over three seasons. St. Louis quickly retaliated by signing Steve Bernier to a $2.5 million offer sheet. You can easily come to the conclusion that the Blues would not have offer-sheeted Bernier if Vancouver had not done the same to Backes. Regardless it made for an entertaining couple of weeks.
Most GM’s will tell you they aren’t scared of offer sheets and refuse to negotiate out of fear. While some will lead you to believe offer sheets are driven by agents, most will tell you teams are the driving force behind offer sheets.
Sniper extraordinaire Steven Stamkos would appear to be a prime target in the coming weeks. It’s safe to say Tampa Bay is offering Stamkos a contract that will pay him in the $7 million range. As one NHL source put it, “So if a team offers him $9 million, Tampa bay is going to walk away over two million”? Obviously not.
Coyotes D-man Keith Yandle and Kings D-man Drew Doughty are attractive names for a number of teams as well. Will Detroit look to fill the $6 million void left behind by Brian Rafalski’s retirement?
Something’s Brewing in Tampa….
Negotiations are continuing between Eric Brewer and Tampa Bay with the Lightning interested in hanging on to the veteran D-man. The two sides are obviously seeing if they come up with something that works. Considering both the player and the team would like to get a deal done I will be surprised if they don’t come to an agreement.
There’s been no official word on goaltender Chris Osgood in terms of his playing future. One thing Detroit has always done is take care of their star players after hockey. Don’t be surprised if Osgood becomes the next goaltending coach in Grand Rapids if he does call it quits.
More to come,