CLIFFORD: OFFER SHEET?

Jason Gregor
July 09 2013 05:47PM

 

It is obvious the Oilers need a winger with size, grit and a willingness to go to the tough areas to play in their top-six. They don't have one on the roster, and no one in the system is NHL-ready. If I was Craig MacTavish, I would sign RFA Kyle Clifford to an offer sheet.
 
I would offer him a one-year deal between $2.7- $3 million. 

This is why I believe Clifford makes sense.

  • He's the type of player they need, and it doesn't matter that he hasn't been a top-six forward thus far, because very few teams have six actual "top-six" forwards.
     
  • The compensation is only a 2nd round pick. Clifford was the 35th pick in 2009. He's already played three years in the NHL, and the chance that 2nd round pick turns out to be as good as Clifford is extremely low.
     
  • The Kings only have $5 million in cap space and they need to sign fourplayers. If they matched the offer sheet, they'd have a hard time singing both Jordan Nolan and Trevor Lewis.
     
  • Clifford isn't a regular 2nd liner, when you look at his offensive numbers, but if he played regularly with two of Nugent-Hopkins, Hall, Eberle, Gagner or Yakupov he'd improve and put up okay numbers.
     
  • His style of play is exactly the type of complimentary player the Oilers need to play alongside their skilled forwards.
     
  • Before you say he's only scored 7 goals, keep in mind he did that in 48 games this season. Is it possible he could score 15 in a full season playing alongside RNH, Hall, Yakupov, Gagner or Eberle? I think so.
     
  • Also, don't get hung up on points. His contribution would be more than just points. He would bring an element of tenacity, grit and toughness that the top-six lacks. His style of play could create more room for the skilled players.

TOP-SIX FORWARDS

Very few teams have six top-six forwards. The Blackhawks just won the Cup with Michal Handzus and Bryan Bickell in their top-six. Were they considered top-six forwards at the start of the year, or even late in the year? Didn't think so.

The past three full NHL seasons the 180th forward (six per team) had 32, 34 and 33 points. Is it completely ridiculous to believe Clifford could pot 28-33 points playing 15-16 minutes a night on the Oilers top-two lines, or mixed in at times on the 3rd line?

RISKS

  • Would it be an overpayment? Based on what he done so far in his career, yes, but it would only be a one-year deal. If he can't handle being a top-six forward, the Oilers could still look at re-signing as a bottom six for a lower contract next year.
     
  • If he has a good season, you'd have to pay him $3 million again, but that means he's produced so that shouldn't be a big issue. He's only 22 and he could mature and grow with the other young forwards.
     
  • I don't buy that if the Oilers offer sheet him the Kings will be looking for revenge in the future. The Oilers don't have cap issues moving forward, and they shoud have no problem extending Nugent-Hopkins and J.Schultz next season. This is business not personal, and if Dean Lombardi gets upset, oh well.
     
  • The Oilers and Ducks have made trades since the Dustin Penner offer sheet, so the Oilers shouldn't be concerned about potential backlash from the Kings.
     
  • I'd consider this a bold move, because the Oilers would thinking outside the box. Clifford is the type of player they need, and even though he hasn't shown he is a top-six forward yet, he also hasn't been given the opportunity on a very deep LA Kings team.

Clifford would sign the offer sheet in a heartbeat, I'm just not sure if the Kings would match it or settle for the 2nd round pick?

I think the risk is worth the potential reward.

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR 

 

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#101 Dubes
July 10 2013, 08:40AM
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Love it. Who drops the gloves in the Oilers line up now? Smyth? PRV? Jones? Yeah right. Not only would KC play hard, but won't hesitate to protect the kids. Not enough of that in the line up. He would be one of the only ones to mix it up a bit. I hope Eager finds his game too.

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#102 aeiouY
July 10 2013, 08:47AM
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speaking of offer sheets....

I posted this on twitter yesterday and had a good conversation about it with "rustyknuckler" from oilonwhyte.com

What do you guys think about this....

We offer a heavy deal at Pietrangelo (6 year @ 7 million) as a trojan horse. The Blues would most likely have no option but to match it. We then release the trojans.... 5 years at 5.5 to Chris Stewart.

With a self imposed cap, Jay Bouwmeester and gang making way to much money, the Blues would have to let him go.

Worst case scenario we get Pietrangelo for 6 years and sure up our defence forever. Otherwise we get one of the best young power forwards in the game for a good value and nothing but draft picks.

It's a dick move. It's a bold move.

Thoughts?

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#103 CaptainLander
July 10 2013, 08:48AM
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With the often inept offense would they look at Hemmer if the Oil eat half the contract

Hemmer ($2.5mil) for Clifford?

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#104 dohfOs
July 10 2013, 08:48AM
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I support your thoughts Jason and I'd also like the Oilers to try and sign Kyle Clifford to an offer sheet.

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#105 striatic
July 10 2013, 08:56AM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

If you watched him play why did you compare his size to Paajarvi's? Size is irrelevant in comparing their games. Paajarvi is more skilled, but not a good finisher, while Clifford is much more gritty and in your face, which is what the Oilers need in their top six.

Is it possible Clifford's corsi wouldn't improve playing with top-six players instead of with 4th line guys? What he did in LA on 4th line really likely has little bearing on what he'd do given opportunity in Edmonton. No one knows for sure.

He is 22, you are 100% certain he couldn't improve as a player. Bryan Bickell wasn't considered a top-six forward, but given consistent time with Kane and Toews he showed he could produce. Not saying Clifford will be like him, but Clifford has decent hockey instincts and his style of play could be complement to Oilers skilled players.

i compared his size to Paajarvi's because they are of similar size.

the difference between Clifford and PRV is that Clifford hits and Clifford fights, but they both use their size to battle for pucks on the boards in a similar way and that's the most important thing for me.

Clifford likes to hit, especially on the forecheck, but he often takes himself waaaaay out of position to make these hits. it is wise that he does this almost exclusively on the forecheck and not on the backcheck but it still puts him out of position in terms of getting back to help defensively.

that might be ok with the Kings, but it is suicide if he's playing with Gagner and Yakupov who need all the defensive help they can get.

he might get better in the future. so might Paajarvi. neither are currently adequate solutions at 2LW.

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I don't really know why he'd sign a one year deal.

I also don't see how LA couldn't find a way to match. They have 5.2mil in cap space and that doesn't include Mitchell who seems to be a LTIR candidate.

I do however like targeting Clifford. Should see if a trade can be worked out.

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#108 Rama Lama
July 10 2013, 09:13AM
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Love the idea of the offer sheet and Clifford fits the bill........the only problem is that GM's do not like this tactic, and it seems once done, no one wants to trade with you.

I guess they consider this a classless move, something that fits Lowe's moves but not Mac T.

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#109 stevi
July 10 2013, 09:40AM
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I like the way you think. Ive been saying since the frenzy they should go after some rfa's with stewart heavily on top of the list. Im glad clarkson signed in toronto becausebi think stewart will be consistant 25 goal scorer and would compliment both our top lines. Its a shame how we acquired penner because offer sheets seem to be frowned upon nowadays

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#110 stevi
July 10 2013, 09:40AM
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I like the way you think. Ive been saying since the frenzy they should go after some rfa's with stewart heavily on top of the list. Im glad clarkson signed in toronto becausebi think stewart will be consistant 25 goal scorer and would compliment both our top lines. Its a shame how we acquired penner because offer sheets seem to be frowned upon nowadays

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#111 Jamison
July 10 2013, 09:46AM
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Absolutely love it!!!

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#112 2004Z06
July 10 2013, 11:02AM
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Al36 wrote:

You guys got to get off the Penner train,he is not coming here!1.Dustin and Mac-t didn' exactly get along.2.Eakins is a fitness freak,and we all know Penner likes his pancakes.3.size without emotion or effort is useless,give me a pee wee like Andrew Shaw any day of the week over a giant softy who you have to poke with a cattleprod half the time!I know stats guys love him but he don't show up till playoffs and this team needs playoff Penner all season just to have a chance at making them!

I agree with you but.....Penner is in need of a contract and a one year deal would be very motivating for him. Eakins is a fitness freak and if he could get Penner to buy into his fitness regime, Penner would be a force! Him having another 20-30 goal year would definitely improve his chances of signing another long term deal somewhere.

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#113 EHH Team
July 10 2013, 11:16AM
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I think offer sheets are a fool's game. You end up overpaying and p*ssing off others who end up matching anyway.

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#114 striatic
July 10 2013, 11:18AM
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@Jason Gregor

then the team is limiting their options by forcing their top line to break up in order to accommodate Kyle Clifford.

i mean you might want to break up that line no matter who is the 2LW but you still want the option of playing them together by having some defensive responsibility on the 2nd line.

Clifford is a fit on the Gordon line but not the Gagner line.

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#115 bazmagoo
July 10 2013, 12:29PM
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@Jason Gregor

Would love to see a line of Hall - Grabovski - Yakupov. Tell me that wouldn't be dynamic, no defence in the league would be able to keep up with them.

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#116 johnnybravo
July 10 2013, 12:58PM
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@madjam

If LA matches the offer sheet they're not allowed to trade the player for a year

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#117 bdiddy18
July 10 2013, 01:05PM
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Why not approach LA with an offer for Clifford then?

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#119 Pouzar99
July 10 2013, 02:24PM
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I seem to remember that the very offensively challenged Dave Semenko and Jaro Pouzar played a lot on the wing with Gretzky before Esa Tikkanen made it to the NHL. Clifford has as much upside as those guys ever did.

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