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 

 

Ddf3e2ba09069c465299f3c416e43eae
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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#51 madjam
July 09 2013, 07:52PM
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Supernova wrote:

If they match the offer sheet they can't trade him for one year, to the date of signing.

Thanks for that clarification .

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#52 bazmagoo
July 09 2013, 07:54PM
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@Next up, is Connor McJesus.

Dustin Brown is UFA next season, he'd be a tremendous fit for our team.

Personally I don't really think the Oilers are going to make any bold moves at all, still content with developing talent from within and steadily improving as the years go by. I'm ok with this strategy, as long as they start bringing in complementary UFA's who actually do something.

Based on the development of our 5 young guns, I'd say it's likely we will be pushing for a playoff spot this season. Talent of this class can take pretty big strides from year to year.

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#53 bazmagoo
July 09 2013, 08:04PM
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Someone mentioned this on a blog recently (can't remember where) so not trying to take credit for this idea - but is there any reason why the Oilers haven't re-signed Smithson? He was only here for 10 games, can't really think of any reason to write him off so quickly.

Of all the centremen left as UFA's, he hits a lot and is good on faceoff's. Could likely be had for his salary from last season (or somewhere in that range) for a one year deal. Ideal 13-14 forward, pushing for 4th line minutes.

Not particularly excited about the signings of Acton & Joensuu, neither has done anything in the NHL and shouldn't be relied on for ice time. Could see Hamilton being a very good signing the way he is trending, but still he hasn't done anything at the NHL level.

Why not resign Smithson?

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#54 striatic
July 09 2013, 08:05PM
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no.

maybe if the fancy stats weren't sharply negative.

but they are.

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#55 bazmagoo
July 09 2013, 08:07PM
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striatic wrote:

no.

maybe if the fancy stats weren't sharply negative.

but they are.

Cool - just wondering if you have a source you look at for the fancy stats - curious to check them out.

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#56 Young Oil
July 09 2013, 08:13PM
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I like this as a plan B, but there are still lots of UFAs out there that could improve our roster, as well as trades. Here's what I'd try to do first:

1. Sign Grabovski to a 4 year $16M contract.

2. Sign Jagr to a 1 year, $4M contract.

3. Sign Nick Palmieri to a reasonable contract (3 year @ $1M per).

4. Trade Hemsky for a 4th line center with size (Smith from OTT, or Boyle/Kreider from NYR).

5. Deal Gagner for a top 4 Dman, Gagner, N. Schultz and a 1st for a top 2.

Hall-RNH-Eberle

Jagr-Grabovski-Yakupov

Paajarvi-Gordon-Palmieri

Joensuu-Smith- Jones

(Smyth-Lander-Brown)

Smid-Top 2 D

Belov-Petry

J. Schultz-Ference

(Potter/Larsen/Klefbom)

Dubnyk

Labarbera

That's a lineup with much more depth and size than last year.

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#57 bazmagoo
July 09 2013, 08:23PM
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@Young Oil

Personally I think Grabovski with Yakupov would be dynamic. Unlikely Jagr signs with the Oil, but if you could turn Gagner into a 2nd line winger with size (Perron, Stewart) the Oilers would be in a great spot.

Can't really see any reason St Louis would want Gagner though, they are pretty set at the center position.

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#58 striatic
July 09 2013, 08:23PM
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bazmagoo wrote:

Cool - just wondering if you have a source you look at for the fancy stats - curious to check them out.

http://www.hockeyabstract.com/playerusagecharts

and

http://www.behindthenet.ca/

we know Clifford was given nearly 60% offensive zone starts against middling competition and was barely Corsi positive, leaving him with an very underwhelming Corsi Relative.

basically he was given a lot of breaks but barely moved the needle offensively.

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#59 striatic
July 09 2013, 08:28PM
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CorsiRel isn't the be all and end all and there are reasons why his isn't that great, but when you combine it with the low point total the stats don't exactly scream "second line LW".

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#60 bazmagoo
July 09 2013, 08:29PM
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Can anybody explain to me why we would be counting on Jesse Joensuu being an NHL forward this season? Hopefully we aren't.

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#61 bazmagoo
July 09 2013, 08:30PM
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@striatic

Fair enough, can you think of any reason the Oilers aren't bringing Smithson back?

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#62 Walter Sobchak
July 09 2013, 08:31PM
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GVBlackhawk wrote:

Exactly Wes. There are several RFA offer sheet targets that would do a lot to help the Oilers. Time for management to get some balls and make some 'unorthodox' decisions with respect to getting some better players. Right now it is just more of the same.

Sounds like Klefbom is going to be given a roster spot right out of training camp. The alternative would be letting him play in in OKC for 45 games, thus saving the Oilers an additional year of free agency. Do you think management even thinks about these details? Gauging how things are going with Sam Gagner, I'm going to go with 'no'.

Well said!

I'm not sure what the hell they think? Honestly!

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#63 striatic
July 09 2013, 08:32PM
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sorry for over posting but to put this in perspective, last year Magnus Paajarvi had more goals, more assists and better Corsi Rel than Kyle Clifford and yet Clifford is supposed to take a slot in the top 6 instead of Magnus?

i'm not buying it. neither of these guys should be in the top 6 of any team next year.

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#64 striatic
July 09 2013, 08:35PM
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bazmagoo wrote:

Fair enough, can you think of any reason the Oilers aren't bringing Smithson back?

for the same reason no other team has signed him yet.

he isn't a very good hockey player.

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#65 Walter Sobchak
July 09 2013, 08:35PM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

Arrrrgh, you Pirate! Need any help to hastily board those two ships?

...any way we could capture Dustin Brown as well?

I'm serious, and I mean this,

Offer sheet the shIp out of teams!! I don't care what kind of backlash come this way!

At the very least it shows players out there that the Oilers mean business, make GM's sphincter tighten at the very mention of a RFA !

Oilers now open for BUSINESS!!

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#66 nuge2nail
July 09 2013, 08:41PM
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Oiler Domination To Follow

We need vanek not Clifford.

2014 First rounder, Gagner plus Marincin assuming vanek signs an extension.

Sign Grabovski.

Vanek Grabovski Yakupov

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#67 106 and 106
July 09 2013, 08:45PM
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Great place to start, and what a stellar price - hopefully MacT reads this - need to start filling holes before everyone leaves for the summer.

The team is better, but not by that much... yet.

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#68 striatic
July 09 2013, 08:46PM
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nuge2nail wrote:

Oiler Domination To Follow

We need vanek not Clifford.

2014 First rounder, Gagner plus Marincin assuming vanek signs an extension.

Sign Grabovski.

Vanek Grabovski Yakupov

i don't like giving up that much for Vanek when it should be possible to simply sign him as UFA next summer without giving up assets.

well, as simple as getting him to sign an extension anyway.

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#69 Paq Twinn
July 09 2013, 08:55PM
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kjml wrote:

Why not try out 6'2'' 204lbs UFA Peter Mueller as a 2nd or 3rd line guy for 1.5 million instead

Mueller isn't the aggressive "hard to play against" type. He's a bigger body that plays a "smaller" game.

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#70 Oiler Al
July 09 2013, 09:03PM
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Should this not be Eager's role on the team.

I suggest acquiring Cliffor a couple of months ago, however, dont think an offer sheet is the way to go. Makes Oilers look pretty desperate. to O S a player at this level.

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#71 fig pucker
July 09 2013, 09:12PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

I honestly would do this! What kind of backlash has Philadelphia seen since the Weber offer sheet?

While MacTavish is at it, go for Pietrangelo as well!

Enough of this pussy footing around already!

Quit begging teams to deal with you! Use the system to your advantage, the Oilers owe it to themselves and to the fans to put the best product on the ice.

amen brother, i remember how i made these points and many others in the article yesterday on a different thread regarding peiterangelo. everyone couldn't jump all over me fast enough to slam the idea. funny how the world changes in a day.

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#72 shonn
July 09 2013, 09:16PM
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offer sheet Nolan instead, he is the exact kind of guy we need on our team, or offer sheet them both, LA only has 5 million of cap space with 5 guys to sign

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#73 Supernova
July 09 2013, 09:19PM
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Paq Twinn wrote:

Great ideas but we can only offer 7 yr term to free agents drafted else where.

Right, my bad

So sign Pietrangelo for 7 years. They will match it regardless, I would imagine you would have to hit 9+ to not have them match.

Pietrangelo is already a number 1 defenceman, who will play at a top level for the next dozen or so years, they will essentially match what ever someone pitches the whole exercise is to bind them cap wise.

Dirty business but teams like the oilers should be doing this.

They have not locals should level the playing field and tighten the strings on good teams.

I would advocate doing this to Philly next year with Schenn and Couterier is they aren't already resigned.

The compliance buyouts were the worst thing for lots of teams because it allowed the teams with nearly unmovable contracts to move them.

We already know only certain amount of money can be spent on contracts. ( 50 % or HRR) all this does it move the percantage points around. It also will teach teams about proper asset management.

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#74 HerbaDerp
July 09 2013, 09:24PM
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Can we all please stop talking about Penner being a good fit. Do you not remember why we traded him? How about pancakes? Or being in the dog house in LA for the past few years? Clifford is a great idea and fits a role that we clearly need. I'm surprised some of you jokers haven't mentioned bringing Stortini back. Oh wait Anaheim signed him. Brutal.

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#75 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
July 09 2013, 09:36PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

I'm serious, and I mean this,

Offer sheet the shIp out of teams!! I don't care what kind of backlash come this way!

At the very least it shows players out there that the Oilers mean business, make GM's sphincter tighten at the very mention of a RFA !

Oilers now open for BUSINESS!!

I knew you were serious. We see things much along the same lines. Plundering someones assets is more than just a one man job in todays game. I was trying to say, I was willing to come along and supervise this undertaking you mentioned.

People can call it whatever they want, dirty, underhanded business, but it's still business as usual no matter how you dress it up. MacTavish was free to start making changes 10 weeks ago, not just in the last two weeks. He sure doesn't appear to be the man he lead us to believe he was.

Not big on Peterangelo yet, he may be a No. 1 in St. Louis but he's no unanimous league wide No.1 like say a Chara or Weber. He still has a ways to go like OEL does before he's anointed.

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#76 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
July 09 2013, 09:48PM
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Oiler Al wrote:

Should this not be Eager's role on the team.

I suggest acquiring Cliffor a couple of months ago, however, dont think an offer sheet is the way to go. Makes Oilers look pretty desperate. to O S a player at this level.

Stirring the pot is a young mans game. Ben (pushing 30) just can't be expected to do that anymore with his recent history. If Eakins realizes this and switches his role somewhat, then Ben has a chance to re-establish/reinvent himself and possibly buy him a few more yrs in this league. A 22 yr old Clifford is better suited to poke the bear on a nightly basis. Edmonton could sure use two Kyle Cliffords.

Maybe if MacTavish could land Hartnell. Scotty could rack'em up, and Clifford could knock'em down.

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#77 bwar
July 09 2013, 10:10PM
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Just a note on the whole Vanek thing: Vanek did play hockey in Alberta when he was younger so thinking that him signing an extension with the Oilers is crazy would be incorrect. He has friends in the area who would be ecstatic if he put on a Oilers uniform.

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#78 madjam
July 09 2013, 10:15PM
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Offer sheet Adam Henrique . Trade to get Perron . Second trade to get Clifford and M.A.Cliche (package deal) from L.A. . Maybe we can get rid of some of our excess better that way . Add those reasonable purchaers and it should spell contender or better . All of the younger variety I might add. They should all be assets , not declining liabilities .

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#79 Taylor Gang
July 09 2013, 10:16PM
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I'm more interested in getting our bottom 6 in check than our defense. Cliffordcis a step in the right direction, but we need a big change if we want anything to happen for the better. Is Winnipeg a good trading partner?

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#80 madjam
July 09 2013, 10:18PM
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bwar wrote:

Just a note on the whole Vanek thing: Vanek did play hockey in Alberta when he was younger so thinking that him signing an extension with the Oilers is crazy would be incorrect. He has friends in the area who would be ecstatic if he put on a Oilers uniform.

Did he not sign an offer sheet to play here , but Buffalo matched it ?

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#81 madjam
July 09 2013, 10:25PM
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Any one know if Slepychev will be over for training camp in September ? Might he surprise and make a spot on team ?

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#82 GVBlackhawk
July 09 2013, 10:25PM
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striatic wrote:

CorsiRel isn't the be all and end all and there are reasons why his isn't that great, but when you combine it with the low point total the stats don't exactly scream "second line LW".

Any reasonable OS for Clifford will be matched by LA. Offer sheeting Clifford at an overpay is not worth it for this type/caliber of player.

It would make more sense to take a one or two year flyer on Grabovski. He can play 2L or 2C, and can fill in for RNH as he likely won't be ready to start the season. It would be nice to have some center depth this season and not rely on a bunch of AHL'ers (sorry Barons) when the injury bug inevitably strikes.

But he is already perceived to have an attitude problem so the Oilers will pass. As if any of us haven't went on a profanity-laced tirade when we were pissed off!

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#83 GVBlackhawk
July 09 2013, 10:27PM
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madjam wrote:

Any one know if Slepychev will be over for training camp in September ? Might he surprise and make a spot on team ?

He will get an invite to the Oilers rookie camp in September. He would have to be impressive to get an invite to Oilers training camp. He is young and needs development time -- likely in KHL and hopefully in OKC one day. Long-shot odds to make the Oilers this fall.

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#84 Gordoil
July 09 2013, 10:28PM
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Would be a good pick up, however MacT commented on not doing an offer sheet. Would like to see them trade for Nick Foligno from the Jackets. I believe he would be good fit for 2LW.

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#85 Putzstew
July 09 2013, 10:31PM
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Agree that Cliford is what we need but in order to keep good relations why not do the same as Burke did with Kesle? Force a trade.

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#86 striatic
July 09 2013, 10:40PM
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Mikey wrote:

Or you could watch him play?

i watched about 70% of all Kings games this year.

so yeah i've watched him play.

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#87 Patrick
July 09 2013, 11:09PM
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When a fan/caller suggests these type of moves, or dare to question your suggestions, they get absolutely BLASTED on air by you (and on the rare occasion you respond to comments in your own blogs). Or better yet, get called a vile name such as 'mouth breather' by brownlee.

MacT would never bother with an offer sheet. Why? Because it's a useless tactic that has next to zero chance of success. When was the last non-matched offer sheet, Dustin Penner in 07? 8 offer sheets in the last decade. Success rate of less than 0.01% compared to total contracts issued. Let's not waste time addressing a eklund-ish rumour. Would've been better served speculating on Chris Stewart, big bruising body, in exchange for a first and a third, big upside. Or Alex Pietrangelo, great d-man, offer up to the max for a 1st/3rd compensation. Or use the threat of the offer sheet in order to force a trade. See I can speculate, because that's my role. Your role is to report facts. Maybe that'll get you some cred.

I'm not a troll, or a hater, I love the radio hosts that treat listeners with respect. It's no surprise to me that those guys are the ones with inside knowledge, and have guest spots on shows outside the City. A little respect goes a long way.

Respect.

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#88 jonnyquixote
July 09 2013, 11:16PM
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I think the offer would have to come in at a bit more than 3 million to be effective. The Kings will have more flexibility with Willie Mitchell going on LTI, probably for the whole season.

Far better to negotiate a deal for Clifford (or Lewis), using the threat of an offer-sheet as an incentive for the Kings to deal and the 2nd rounder compensation as a watermark for the value.

That said, I think he's a good choice for the Oilers right now. I wouldn't necessarily pencil him in as the 2nd line winger, but as competition for Paajarvi for that spot, one who can adequately (probably) play on the 3rd or 4th line too.

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#89 kgo
July 09 2013, 11:31PM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

I'd wager Meg Morrison "freight trained" you one too many times on the air.

Comes across like a pound of bitterness...

Comes across pretty accurate to me....and the reason he never replies in his posts is because he's too busy replying with different names....I'm trying to figure out which writer you are, and which writer is DSF

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#90 Dangilitis
July 09 2013, 11:35PM
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Ottawa a little thin on D depth and 1 legitimate RW (2 if you count Pageau emergence). Oil in need of #2 LW. Hemsky and Michalek - 2 similarly productive players, 1 yr left on deals. Similar salaries. Michalek no longer needed with Conacher, Ryan and MacArthur vying for top 3 lines. Not that Ottawa needs cap relief, but keep 1.5 millon of Hemsky's salary to sweeten the deal. Then add 2nd round draft pick or Nick Schultz (Ottawa's choice).

a 2nd line of Michalek - Gagner - Yakupov has size, skill, and passion and would round out a very good top 6, while pushing Paajarvi down to join Gordon on 3rd line with, hopefully, a free agent signing to fill 3rd line RW.

Hemsky wants out, we want him to have a new start and it would be a nice landing spot where it is rumored that he is wanted. If we gave Ottawa a 2nd, it would be the 2nd we would be giving up by offer sheet to Clifford, but the caliber of Michalek and Clifford are not comparable.

MacT says he can't meet all his goals this summer. That's loser talk. One trade fixes the top 6 forwards. 1 trade can bring in another legitimate top 4 Dman.

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#91 Fish
July 09 2013, 11:39PM
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Sorry Gregor, can't do this and keep the team. It throws off the team pay structure. How can you ever offer sheet Clifford, for what he has done in NHL, @ 3 mill, and then turn around and negotiate solid cap friendly deals with PRV, Jones, etc. etc. etc. It's not that i don't like Clifford, I just think you slit your own neck with everyone elses contracts.

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#92 toprightcorner
July 10 2013, 01:03AM
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I could be wrong but if you give Clifford a contract for 1 year, the next years qualifying offer has to be at least what the previous contract was? so if he bombs, you lose if cause you are not qualifying him at that dollar. makes that a bigger risk.

I would only do an offer sheet if that was the only way to get some size into the lineup.

I also think Matt Martin from NYI is a very similar player, hits more and also spends time on the PK. would have to trade for him, 3 years left at $1 mill.

GEt Stewart after they sign Pietriangello and are out of cap space. 5 years $5.5 mill, same salary is Hemskly.

Now thats grit, size plus scoring on the top 6

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#93 jonnyquixote
July 10 2013, 02:42AM
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toprightcorner wrote:

I could be wrong but if you give Clifford a contract for 1 year, the next years qualifying offer has to be at least what the previous contract was? so if he bombs, you lose if cause you are not qualifying him at that dollar. makes that a bigger risk.

I would only do an offer sheet if that was the only way to get some size into the lineup.

I also think Matt Martin from NYI is a very similar player, hits more and also spends time on the PK. would have to trade for him, 3 years left at $1 mill.

GEt Stewart after they sign Pietriangello and are out of cap space. 5 years $5.5 mill, same salary is Hemskly.

Now thats grit, size plus scoring on the top 6

If Clifford bombs, you might be able to negotiate a long-term contract with him mid-season at a lower yearly rate than the $3million or so per that his salary currently sits at.

Depending on how hard he's bombing or what he thinks the FA landscape looks like, he might come in at a (slightly) lower price point in return for a longer deal.

However, I think you're probably right in that a 2-3 year contract, which would preserve RFA eligibility upon its expiration, would make far more sense.

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#94 seanjohn667
July 10 2013, 02:59AM
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@Walter Sobchak

what's all this Vanek talk? guys, snap out of it. we need what we haven't got, not more of what we already have. We already have the one-shot scorers, the passers, the puck carriers, the danglers. we need puck retrievers, battlers, and screeners. Unless i missed something, Vanek is not that.

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#95 Walter Sobchak
July 10 2013, 06:52AM
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seanjohn667 wrote:

what's all this Vanek talk? guys, snap out of it. we need what we haven't got, not more of what we already have. We already have the one-shot scorers, the passers, the puck carriers, the danglers. we need puck retrievers, battlers, and screeners. Unless i missed something, Vanek is not that.

Who said anything about Vanek? He's a UFA next year.

We (as a group of posters) and I are talking about RFA's and offer sheets.

Vanek is a different conversation for a different time.

Avatar
#98 Obiwan Eberle - Team Silver Fox
July 10 2013, 07:35AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Hemmer (1/2 salary retained) and a 3rd would get you there I'd bet. May have to take some money back but it's better than the offer sheet I say.

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