CLIFFORD: OFFER SHEET?

 

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 

 

  • bwar

    I think I’m more comfortable with PRV as the 2L. I think Clifford would still be a great addition. Could have him with Gordon and Hemsky on the third. Would look pretty nice in my eyes.

    Just as a side note any chance we can get someone to stir up the Flyers trade rumors again?

  • OilersBrass

    Jason, thought you’ve said we need veterans? We have legitImate top 6 forwards now. All score more than 45 pts now. Hall is the power forward we need. Looks like Yak will be too. We need gritty lower 6 players that can score 20+ pts. If you really want to make an RFA offer sheet, it should be too Stewart 5M x 5 years. 1st + 3rd. Veteran whow would score 50+ pts

  • OilersBrass

    Unlikely L.A. would not match if it’s only a second in return for them . They might even sign him to be traded rather than let us have him cheaply . I’d like Adam Henrique , but I doubt Jersey would not match it . Closer to home how about an offer sheet for Gagner . Would we match it ?

  • Paq Twinn

    If they offer him a signing bonus of, say, 1.5M plus a 1.5M salary the RFA compensation is the same but the QO should only be 1.5M at the end of the year. Is that right?

  • Haha if I were Lombardi and this happened, I’d probably pull a dick move and sign Paajarvi to the same length and term deal just out of spite knowing full well that the Oilers would match. They’d be vastly overpaying not just Clifford but also Paajarvi at this stage of the game and Craig would have a very classic wet cat look on his face announcing the match.

    It’s juvenile but I know I’d get a certain sense of satisfaction out of it if I were Lombardi.

  • T__Bone88

    It would be a smart tactic but maybe go 2-3 years on the term to really get them to consider not matching. If Edm did threaten with an offer sheet would possibly LA consider making a bigger deal with Hemsky (50% salary retained) paajarvi and draft picks in exchange for Clifford and Justin Williams. Williams almost seems like a possible cap dump candidate here eventually if LA intends on re-signing Dustin Brown and Matt Greene next year.

  • gr8one

    JG – you should join the pro scouting staff! Seriously, I’ve been thinking on this and never Clifford never occurred to me. Like Mikey said, they could try and trade for him first with the threat they’ll offer sheet him if they can’t make a deal. Based on other options, giving Clifford a shot an 2LW, knowing that if he stumbles for a spell MPS might be able to fill in at times is a deal I’d make.

    One issue that it will create though is contract pricing on MPS. Different styles of players, but MPS has more point in 50ish fewer games. You’d have resign him first to a multi-year, otherwise you’re driving the price up on yourself. No?

  • Paq Twinn

    I like the idea, but if the Kings weren’t willing to match the offer, I think it probably speaks to his actual value (if he was worth it, they’d work around the cap issues by moving other guys).

    The only issue I see with it is the fact that the team almost always matches an offer sheet, but it results in driving up the price of this type of player going forward. Penner was the exception, obviously.

    • Benny Botts

      I don’t know how many times you have watched clifford play. But their totally totally different players. JF you had to use a caddle prod to get any life into him. Clifford is big, fast, tough and always looking to get engaged in something. Never lets you off the hook. To compare the two does not make any sense.

  • gr8one

    I was listening to you on the radio today, and you bring up some good points about Clifford. Watching him play, I really like what he brings, not sure what he could do in a top 6 roll. But why not trade for his rights before an offer sheet?