Monday Musings: Oilers and offer sheets

monday musings

The long NHL season will conclude tonight or Wednesday and then all the focus will switch to the draft, free agency, buyout candidates and the salary cap issues many teams have. The NHL off-season has become as exciting as the regular season, well, at least in Edmonton anyway. That could change as the team improves, but for the past six seasons Oilers fans have been much more excited in June/July than they have in November-April.

This off-season will be filled with intrigue and suspense as we watch to see how new general manager Peter Chiarelli will mold his hockey club.

QUICK HITS…

  • Connor McDavid was in Edmonton this past weekend. He met with some of the Oilers’ brass and got a tour of the dressing room as well as the new arena by Bob Nicholson. In previous drafts the Oilers have invited top picks to Edmonton for a longer and more relaxed interview than what takes place at the combine. The difference this year, is that McDavid is the only player I can confirm they have brought to Edmonton. They might have invited others, I just haven’t confirmed any, but realistically I wouldn’t see the point. We all know they will draft McDavid first overall.
  • I recognize they have the 16th pick as well, but they’d have to fly in ten different players if they were planning on interviewing kids they thought would be available there. Chiarelli could trade up from that slot, he might trade down, he could trade the pick away or use it. The options are plentiful and it is too hard to predict, even for the Oilers, what will occur with the 16th selection. which is why they don’t fly in players connected to that pick.
  • The Dougie Hamilton offer sheet chatter needs to be put in perspective. Only one player in the last 17 years has switched teams via an offer sheet (Dustin Penner), but more importantly teams didn’t offer sheet P.K Subban or Drew Doughty when they were RFAs coming off their entry level deals. Both Subban and Doughty ended up holding out for a short time. Subban signed a two-year deal with an $2.875 AAV. Doughty received an eight-year deal with a $7 mill AAV. Hamilton is not better than Subban or Doughty were after their ELC. I believe the only reason a team offer sheets Hamilton is to force Boston to match and put them in a worse cap situation.
  • Since 1999, only eight players have even received an offer sheet.
    September 12th, 2006, Flyers offer Ryan Kesler one year, $1.9 mill. Canucks match.
    July 06th, 2007, Oillers offer Tomas Vanek seven years, $50 mill. Sabres match.
    July 26th, 2007, OIlers offer Penner five years, $21.5 mill. Ducks decline at get a 1st, 2nd and 3rd.
    July 1st, 2008, Canucks offer David Backes three years, $7.5 mill. Blues match.
    July 8th, 2008, Blues offer Steve Bernier, one year, $2.5 mill. Canucks match.
    July 9th, 2010, Sharks offer Nick Hjalmarsson four years, $14 mill. Hawks match.
    July 18th, 2012. Flyers offer Shea Weber 14 years, $110 mill. Predators match.
    February 28th, 2013, Flames offer Ryan O’Reilly two years, $10 mill. Avalanche match.
  • In that time we’ve only seen one case of “retribution”, when the Blues offer-sheeted Bernier a week after the Canucks did the same with Backes. The Sabres and Ducks complained about the Oilers offer sheets, but never returned the favour. The Oilers and Ducks have made many trades since the offer sheet. I’ve never agreed with the theory that teams don’t offer sheet players because they are worried about backlash from the other team. Teams will get mad and say things, but historically we haven’t seen much bad blood carry over from offer sheets.
  • The Oilers have had six players receive an offer sheet from an opposing team. Can you name the six players (without using Internet)? I got four. **Answer at bottom.**

  • Very well written article from Chris Kuc on legendary Chicago Blackhawks forward Stan Mikita. It is a sad story, but I loved his daughter’s response to Mikita’s suspected dementia and the connection to playing hockey.

    “If he does have CTE, who cares? It’s not going to change anything,”
    Jane Mikita says. “He played a sport and a game that he loved and that
    provided us as a family with a wonderful upbringing. Hockey was good to
    Stan and Stan was good to hockey. There is no finger to be pointed. He
    knew what he was doing lacing up those skates every time he got on the
    ice.”

    Mr. Mikita and his wife Jill raised an excellent daughter. I had the pleasure of meeting him in Chicago in 2012 and he was incredibly nice. He said hello to me at the arena while we were waiting for an elevator. I knew who he was of course and we spent 20 minutes talking about his era of hockey and my father’s favourite player, Dick Duff. When we got off the elevator he continued his stories. He was so gracious. 

  • The Oilers released their preseason schedule today. They will play eight games beginning with two games against the Calgary Flames on Monday, September 21st. You can bet Connor McDavid will play the home game on the 21st. The entire schedule is here.
  • The Toronto Blue Jays are on fire. They’ve won 11 straight games and they have the most potent offence in baseball. They have scored 67 more runs than every other team. They are 3rd in OBP, but they are 1st in SLG and OPS. If their pitching can be even decent, the Jays should be in the hunt to make their first post-season appearance since 1993. I love it.
  • Fun fact: Justin Schultz, $3.675 million, is currently the highest paid RFA available. The Oilers will qualify him, but being at the top of list illustrates how badly Craig MacTavish overvalued him last summer.
  • Trivia answer. The six Oilers to have received an offer sheet are:
    • Geoff Courtnall. The Rangers offered it to him in 1988, but the Oilers traded the rights to match it to Washington for Greg Adams. (I did not remember this offer sheet).
    • Adam Graves. Again by the Rangers, this time in september of 1991. They offered him five years at a total of $2.5 million. I remember Sather was livid. Graves was coming off a seven goals, 25 point season. Sather didn’t match and the Oilers got Troy Mallette as compensation. Graves scored 52 goals in his third season with the Rangers and had three 30-goal seasons as well.
    • In June of 1992, the Capitals offered Dave Manson a three year deal. The Oilers matched.
    • In the summer of 1993 the Oilers and Craig Simpson couldn’t reach a deal. The details on the exact offer sheet from San Jose was hard to track down. That offer wasn’t accepted, but the Oilers then traded his rights to Buffalo. (I did not remember this one either).
    • The Hartford Whalers gave Steven Rice an offer sheet in summer of 1994. Oilers didn’t match and they received Bryan Marchment as compensation. The Whalers had offered Robert Kron, but the arbitrator ruled in favour of the Oilers. Marchment was a much better player than Rice so the Oilers won this “offer.”
    • In the summer of 1995, the Blues offered Shayne Corson a five-year deal. The Oilers had stripped him of his captaincy during the 1994/1995 season so predictably they didn’t match. Blues GM Mike Keenan didn’t want to give up the two first round draft picks, so he offered up Curtis Joseph and Mike Grier. That ended up being a steal of a deal for the Oilers and the main reason they won a playoff series in 1997 and 1998.
  • I’d be surprised if a team extends an offer sheet for Hamilton. He is good, but how good will he become is the question. I spoke to four different NHL scouts and they all thought he’d be a solid top-pairing defender, but none were willing to say he’d be a lock top-ten #1 defender. If you pay him over $7 million/year you are expecting him to be that very soon.
  • A huge shout out to all those involved in the 26th annual MS Bike Tour. The 1,925 riders raised over $2 million, but the MS society and the volunteers did a fantastic job of making the ride possible. I tip my hat to all the volunteers who spent the entire weekend smiling and being so upbeat and welcoming. Great job.

    Recently by Jason Gregor:    

    • HardBoiledOil 1.0

      my opinion, there will be no offer sheets at all from the Oilers to anyone, and they will instead concentrate on the draft and making trades after the Hawks win the cup tonight.

    • T.J.F.M.

      I disagree that being paid $7M means you must be a “top-10 NHL Defender”.

      $7M/season now, may in fact, look like a great deal if the salary cap continues to rise.

      I’m not saying that he is worth it, but at $7M, if Dougie is considered a top-30 NHL Defender (which would be a #1D), then I think $7M is reasonable.

      The only problem is that Dougie is not there, Yet. But if Chia and others think that he is quite close, then $7M a season is not an overpay. And the main reason why Boston will match it, anyways.

      • Jason Gregor

        Right now only seven D-men make more than $7 mill/year in AAV.

        Subban $9 mill.
        Weber $7.85,
        Suter $7.53,
        Letang $7.2,
        Campbell $7.1,
        Phaneuf $7 mill and
        Doughty $7 mill

        Campbell is in the final year of his deal and won’t get close to that money on his next deal. How many more D will jump into that range in next five years. Hedman in a few years when deal expires. Maybe Ekblad. How many others?

        You think it will change that much over the next five seasons and suddenly there will be 30 D-men making $7 mill. That would be a massive increase in salary increase for defenders. I don’t see that happening.

    • freelancer

      There is no reason for GMs to help their competition out like they did for Subban. if someone gave him an offer sheet for ~7 million sure the Canadiens would match but would have been $4 mil over the cap

    • Ready to Win

      “Since 1999, only eight players have even received an offer sheet.”

      Do we actually know how many players have received offer sheets? I would have thought we would only know how many players have signed offer sheets.

      • ubermiguel

        It just semantics but I think it’s safe to say agents/players don’t receive an offer sheet without a lot of negotiation beforehand. So the ones that aren’t locks to sign don’t ever get one.

      • Jason Gregor

        Good question. I thought same thing and asked two agents. Both said they hadn’t a player they represent receive an offer sheet they turned down. One of them speculated that in today’s age we would hear about it, and joked an agent might want to leak that out…

    • Jason Gregor

      The whole offer sheet thing is so over-rated it’s not funny………thanks for the perspective Jason on this troubling issue.

      The biggest thing for me is compensation…….which is extreme to the max. The whole league is transforming itself to being a league that will be totally centred on effective drafting and development…..thanks to the salary cap.

      Back in the day when teams actually traded players, drafting was not as important……today it’s the lifeblood of most NHL teams.

      Offer sheets are a fools game!!!

      • Spoils

        It is already all about drafting and development. Want an elite defender or top-2 C? You pretty much have to draft one. Then when you draft them you have to put them in situations where they can be successful.

        Send Nurse back to juniors, then to the AHL for a season. Then pair him with a veteran defender to help him in his first year or two. That’s pretty much what good teams do with quality prospects. You have your occasional outlier, but that’s the way most good teams get built.

    • Jason Gregor

      Might not be the Oilers, but there’s a lot of teams looking for top end D. Someone will put in a 7 mill offer sheet. Every time I think, poor cap crunched Bruins, I remember the Oilers just got the manager responsible for that situation.

      Just saying.

      For the Oilers, there have been some really interesting trade proposals and free agent targets suggested. I think the summer of extreme interest will continue.

        • Jason Gregor

          Fair point. I do think the team could be setting themselves up like the Chicago model: win cup, lose players, develop assets returning in deals, repeat.

          Over the next decade, I wouldn’t be surprised if the team lost some of the recent talent its acquired.

          Anyway, the season cant come fast enough, but I am even more excited to see what the team can accomplish in the off season with a new GM, new coach, and a superstar acquisition.

        • Spoils

          Everybody makes mistakes and learns from them; Chia’s a veteran now, and I’d be willing to bank he won’t make the same errors with us that he made with Boston.

          I might just be excessively optimistic, but he’s a smart man. Chiarelli won’t put us into cap hell unless we’re in dynasty mode.

    • Jason Gregor

      While Hamilton looks like a great player to OS, I believe we would be much better off long term if we kept the picks and made a hockey trade for a #1D or drafted one. The Oilers have about 3-4 years to reach Cup Contender status.

    • Spoils

      Remember when there was a chance we would have gotten Ekblad…

      If the Oilers can add a Doughty-Keith-Weber level stud, I think that would be the second most valuable person in the organization (behind McDavid).

      For that reason, I would trade Hall or Nuge or anyone else, along with picks, prospects etc. to get it.

      Look at Hedman. Look at the past cup winners.

      You NEED a real #1 to win.

      I’d love to get one for cheap, but let’s not kid ourselves – a true blue #1 stud D chewing up 50% of the game is a MASSIVE MASSIVE piece of the puzzle.

      e.g. – Trade Hall, the 16, and next year’s first pick for more or less anyone of the top ten D under 27yrs old

      • Spoils

        We were so close. But instead of a guy like Campbell, Ekblad would have come here and paired with… Ference? Nikitin maybe? In other words, he would not have been the Calder finalist he was. I think at forwards, kids can get away a bit more with being rushed if they have enough raw talent. But on D, these guys need a good solid vet mentor to pair with, otherwise they just get dragged down. Case in point… all the Oilers young D.

      • Cowbell_Feva

        I agree, except I wouldn’t part with the Nuge…McDavid and Nuge up the middle is one helluva way to throw the other team into panic mode.

        We have an excess on the wings (due to poor “rebuilding”) and Taylor Hall would fetch the biggest return. The stud Dman you speak of would require something of his level. Plus he is injury prone, so that would be a fear of ours no longer…

      • Spoils

        32 trashes!!!

        Quick poll – Trash if you disagree:

        A #1D like a younger Chara, a Neidermeyer, a Pronger, a Weber, a Keith etc. would be more valuable to the McDavid era Oilers than Taylor Hall

          • Spoils

            I just don’t buy that.

            Pronger was traded, Chara was traded, Ryan Suter was traded, Jack Johnson was traded (and was a #1 at the time)

            They are super rare trades but they happen.

            • Jason Gregor

              Chara and Suter were free agents, they weren’t signed.

              Jack Johnson was not a top-pairing defender when he was traded. So Pronger is the only one. Blues traded him to Edmonton when they had money issues, rare in today’s game. And he asked to be traded out of Edmonton for reasons we don’t need to bring up again.

              Chiarelli can try, as he should, to see if a team is willing to part with a #1, but the chances of it happening are about the same as my hair growing back.

    • Cowbell_Feva

      Each time we mention trade proposals, offersheets, etc. I get giddy just knowing that it is out of the hands of Mac T/KLowe…more so KLowe.

      Very refreshing to have new kings in the management sector in Edmonton. Good things to come!

      Oh, and a new generational talent is coming in 11 days as well! Te he he

    • Quicksilver ballet

      I remember that Shark offer sheet for Simpson. They had almost half the value of the contract payable up front as a bonus. I believe that was the reason the league rejected it. We must’ve been reading up on the same stuffs last week.

    • D

      I know back in 1998, Cujo was a UFA so it’s not an exact parallel situation. But if there was ever a time when I wish the Oilers had the resources to inflict retribution on another team (the Maple Leafs), that would have been it.

    • D

      I have a question for everyone, is it impossible to get Dubnyk back, I know that him and his wife loved the city of emonton, with the new management and coaching staff should they make a run to get him back, after the way he played last season, he was stellar and might be our answer. what are your thoughts guys.

      • BigMcD

        The problem is he had 9 years to prove he was number 1 and he never got it done even when the starters job was gifted to him.
        You really think he would come to Edmonton with the Vezina form he showed this year?
        Somehow I don’t think he could replicate last season here.

      • vetinari

        Hard to go back to somewhere where you fell out of favour and lost the trust of your team mates, coaches, management and fans. Imagine if he signed a five year, $5M/season deal and started the season 1-7-2 with 3.77 GAA and .898 sv%. Would ruin him for the rest of his season and maybe his career. At least in Minny, they would cut him some slack but RX1 would eat him alive.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      Congrats to Chicago , and now the fun begins for Oiler fans and new management , etc . Will we now follow Tampa’s template to Stanley cup finals in 4 years ?

      On Sportsnet column here is how Yzerman did it in a nutshell . He gutted the team even though they had made playoffs that year before . 13 of 14 forwards sent away sparring only Stamkos over next 3 yeaars . 7 of 8 defensemen sent packing in same timeframe keeping only Hedman. Both goalies axed . Might we see a similar scenario with our new group , and an exit of the fab 5 with McDavid a carryover ? Who is going to be our Hedman or Ekblad player type is the question ? Are our new management people going to be that bold and successful ? Could be quite the off season of changes coming . With our fab 5 history much less than Tampa’s was , it would not be such a surprise if all are gone in next 3 years .

      • Quicksilver ballet

        Who is going to be our Hedman or Ekblad player type is the question

        ————————————————————————————-

        Ivan Provorov could be that guy, within that 4/5 yr timeframe. He’s there for the taking if Chiarelli wants him enough. Draisaitl and the 16th might get it done. Lord knows the Oil need a top pairing blueliner, rather than 3 centers. 3rd/4th line centers are easy to find. Top pairing blue liners….not so much.

    • toprightcorner

      The only way Oilers even think about an offer sheet to Hamilton.

      Chairelli calls Sweeny _ “Sweeny, congrats on the knew job, I left you a bit of work regarding the cap, I feel horrible but would like to help you”

      Sweeny to Chairelli – “Congrats landing in Edmonton and getting this McDavid Kid, I would love you to help me figure out this cap mess.”

      Chairelli – “Well, we could really use some size in the top ^ and even though Lucic can handle the job, that $6 mill I gave him is an over payment in every sense of the word, He would be a guy I would like to bring here to Edmonton

      Sweeny – “you know Petey, that would help us with cap space but every team in the league would want Lucic on their team so I am going to have to get quality prospect to even consider it, how about How about your 16th, Draisaitl Marincin?

      Chairelly – ” well since we go back a long way, I have been thinking signing Hamilton to an offer sheet and we were thinking $7 mill for 7 years, but hey you give me Lucic for Marincin and 33rd and next years 3rd and you retain $1.5 mill of his salary and we will call it a day”

      Sweeny -“what the ..”
      Chairelli, Your choice Sweeny, add over $5 mill to your cap by matching Hamilton or lose $4.5 million in that trade.

      Sweeny, “fine, lets get this done so I can pull my pants up now.

    • JackB

      Gregor, Here is some other considerations.

      In an article by Jonathan Willis (March 12/15) he criticized scouting and management for a lack of depth players:

      “A lack of homegrown talent forces other measures. It’s part of the reason the Oilers have had to resort to taking on castoffs from other teams (Derek Roy, Matt Fraser, Keith Aulie, Ryan Hamilton) or take on depth guys with big-money contracts (Andrew Ference, Boyd Gordon, Matt Hendricks). These things don’t just happen; they’re the result of long-term inadequacy on the amateur procurement side” “The 2007-09 Drafts should have been the backbone of the 2011-12 Oklahoma City Barons, but only two players drafted in the top-100 by the Oilers in those three years show up playing 25-plus on this roster. The fault for that lies primarily with the scouting group and management” “But hanging this solely on the scouts is unfair, too. The heart of the 2008 Draft was ripped out by the Dustin Penner offer sheet; it’s hard to blame a scouting group that collected three guys who would play NHL games outside the top-100.”

      Do we really want to “rip the heart out of two draft years” (because that is what an offer sheet to Hamilton might take) ??

      Consider this: Hamilton was drafted in 2011 (9th) and we got Klefbom that year (20th) And I remember someone covering the draft saying maybe he could be almost as good as Hamilton (the “Swedish Dougie Hamilton”) Possible? Or was that just a radio commentator pumping the Edmonton draft team’s tires?

      Klefbom missed a full year of development because of shoulder surgery, and now Hamilton has had three years of NHL experience, so there is no comparison between the two. But how close is Klefbom? (How close is Nurse?) Do we just need one year help from an available veteran D (plus maybe one or two more years to help mentor our upcoming prospects – I am sure we wouldn’t get a free agent for less 2-3 years if he’s any good?)

      Also consider this: Duncan Keith was drafted by Chicago in 2002 (2nd – #54)and developed by them. Maybe we will get our “Duncan Keith” this year with our #57 pick?

      Maybe we should be looking at the priorities of drafting better, developing better, rather than “stealing” another teams best … because we have screwed up drafting ourselves?

      I think, with #16, #33 and #57 this year, we should use two picks on defense, use one pick in trade for a goalie, then do our best for immediate help on defense.

      It seems to me that wanting to offer sheet someone else’s good player is really impatience (“I want my cookie, and I WANT IT NOW!)

      But I do agree (somewhat) with so many Oiler’s fans … we have waited SO LONG … some of our good young players could be gone soon … we got McDavid now (Manna from heaven) … so what the hell, rip the heart out of a couple of draft years (be damnned if we really hurt future teams depth prospects) and give us our winner NOW!

      Some thoughts.

      And thank goodness some changes will be made in our scouting staff.