Another look at RFAs
I love the fact your keeping an updated list of who's available on the unrestricted free agent front, but could you do a list of restricted free agents to see who'd be eligible for an offer sheet. I know some players like Bouwmeester are going to arbitration and will most likely sign a one-year deal with the team, but they are still mentioned in trade rumours. But there are still some interesting cases like San Jose's Ryan Clowe. He's a great player and would be valuable to any team, so why hasn't he got an offer sheet. Has he just not signed one, or does he really want to stay in San Jose.— Paul Z.
There isn't a lot available, but here they be (not including the 15 who opted for arbitration, several of whom have already re-signed):
Noteworthy RFAs going to arbitration that have yet to re-sign: Dennis Wideman, Marek Svatos, Valtteri Filppula, Jay Bouwmeester, Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Antoine Vermette, Shaone Morrisonn
Who are the most attractive options if a desperate team wants to add a young piece and is willing to burn draft picks?
I'd go after O'Sullivan first, before looking at the likes of Nigel Dawes, Ryane Clowe and Andrej Meszaros. There are some longshot possibilities as well: Clarke Macarthur, Ryan O'Byrne and Jonathan Ericsson all have potential that some teams may project to be higher than their current clubs.
The problem with offer sheets is that (a) the player's team will generally match any contract under $2.6-million and (b) any deal worth more than that results in first-round pick compensation, a price considered too steep by many GMs.
Even without offer sheets, there could be movement among this group, however. A few of the RFAs without contracts and headed arbitration are likely already being shopped, as we've heard the names of Bouwmeester, Bouchard and Vermette in trade rumours for months now.
It's also often the case that, after a contentious arbitration hearing, players are dealt. Mike Cammalleri, formerly of the Kings, had a tough case last summer that resulted in a below-market two-year deal, played one year in Los Angeles and was dealt for a song to Calgary at the draft.
In general, arbitration's a sign of a contentious negotiation — especially in an era when young players can become UFAs at such a young age. If there's a general agreement between player and team on a contract, it generally gets done before that point as both sides look to avoid the hearing.
If the case goes to arbitration, it's going to be either a one- or two-year deal, which does little in terms of eliminating the threat of impending unrestricted free agency.
Dealing with RFAs has gotten a whole lot trickier given some of the mammoth deals players are getting after entry-level contracts. If Mike Green is worth $5.25-million a season, for instance, where does Bouwmeester fit in? If Jeff Carter gets a $5-million a year deal after a 53-point campaign, what does O'Sullivan sign for given his?
It's a good time to be a restricted free agent.
UPDATE Lindstrom's been dealt to the Ducks.