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Photo Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Will Draisaitl receive an offer sheet?

If the Edmonton Oilers and Leon Draisaitl don’t agree to a contract before 10 a.m. MST on Saturday he is open to receive an offer sheet from any of the other 30 NHL teams.

Will a team send him an offer sheet?

Would he sign it?

Would the Oilers match or take the compensation of draft picks?

Since 1986 the NHL has seen 35 offer sheets. On 22 times the team matched and on 13 occasions they let the player walk.

Twenty-five of those offers occurred between 1990-1998. There was no salary cap and teams didn’t shy away from going after superstars. Hall of Famers Scott Stevens (twice), Brendan Shanahan, Joe Sakic, Sergei Federov, Michel Goulet and Teemu Selanne signed offers. So did Petr Nedved, Shayne Corson, Keith Tkachuk, Chris Gratton, Marty McSorley, Matthias Ohlund and others.

The St. Louis Blues sent a whopping eight offer sheets. The Bruins and Rangers sent three, the Sharks and Maple Leafs two while Washington, Calgary, Chicago, Hartford, Ottawa, Philadelphia and Carolina sent one. Ron Caron was the Blues GM for seven of those offer sheets. He clearly wasn’t worried about retribution.

The NHL shied away from offer sheets for eight years, until the Flyers offered Ryan Kesler a one-year deal at $1.9 million in September of 2006. The Canucks matched it. We’ve seen seven since, with the latest being the Calgary Flames’ offer to Ryan O’Reilly on February 28th, 2013. The Colorado Avalanche matched the two-year, $10 million offer.

The last offer sheet to be accepted was Dustin Penner’s five-year, $21.5 million offer by the Oilers. The Anaheim Ducks received a first, second and third round pick in 2008.

Offer sheets are rare, but so is the Oilers’ situation. The Oilers are on the upswing (“Finally!” yells every Oilers fan) and with reports stating Connor McDavid is set to sign an eight-year deal with a $13.25 million cap hit after July 1st, the thought is that now would be a great time to offer sheet Draisaitl and either get him, or hurt the Oilers by having two large contracts.

The theory makes sense, but is it practical for an NHL team? Here is the compensation chart for any offer sheet:

If a team offers Draisaitl a seven-year deal worth $8.5 million/season, the compensation is still four first round picks. Contracts are averaged over five years. The total value of the contract offer, in this case $59.5 million, would be divided by five and would be considered an $11.9 million offer, thus worth four first round picks.

The maximum offer longer than five years a team could send to stay under the threshold for four first round picks, would be a six year deal worth a total of $49 million or a $8.166 million cap hit.

They could offer five years at $9.814 million but that would take Draisaitl to unrestricted free agency and most teams would not want that. Of course they could do it simply to screw over the Oilers if they match it.

It is important to note if a team offers Draisaitl a contract requiring two firsts, a second and a third round pick or four first round picks, they don’t need a first rounder in 2018, per the CBA.

Article 10.4 Draft Choice Compensation for Restricted Free Agents.

Clubs owing three (3) draft selections in different rounds must have them available in the next draft.
Clubs owing two (2) draft selections in the same round, must have them available in the next three (3) drafts.
Clubs owing three (3) draft selections in the same round must have them available in the next four (4) drafts, and so on.

For example, if the Flames offered Draisaitl a six-year deal worth $59 million, which surrenders four first round selections, the Oilers would get the Flames’ first round choice in 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022. The Flames don’t have a 2018 first rounder, but they could still submit a legal offer sheet.

The Flames could not offer him under $9.813 million because they do not own a second or third round selection in 2018.

WHO COULD MAKE AN OFFER?

Apr 22, 2017; San Jose, CA, USA; Edmonton Oilers center Leon Draisaitl (29) controls the puck against the San Jose Sharks during the third period in game six of the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at SAP Center at San Jose. The Edmonton Oilers defeated the San Jose Sharks 3-1 to win the series. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

How many teams could make an offer?

Based on article 10.4, all 30 teams could make an offer sheet with an average of $9.814,935 over five years.

The following teams could not make one that requires surrendering a 2nd round pick, because they do not own one in 2018: Florida, Ottawa, Washington, Chicago, Minnesota, Arizona, Calgary and San Jose.

Toronto and Las Vegas could not offer one which requires a 3rd round pick, because they don’t own their 2018 third rounder.

**Those teams could re-acquire their original pick, or picks in some cases, and then make an offer sheet, but that requires more moves.**

That eliminates ten teams from making an offer between $5.88 million and $9.814 million.

Down to 20 TEAMS

Of the 20 remaining teams how many have the need and cap space to offer Draisaitl a large contract?

Pittsburgh has Crosby and Malkin.
Anaheim has Getzlaf and Kesler on long-term deals with NMC.
Tampa Bay has an abundance of skilled forwards and Nikita Kucherov will get a big raise in two years.
Detroit, surprisingly, only has $7.5 million in cap space, but that will grow to $10.5 million once they place Johan Franzen on LTIR. Their $10 million in goaltending is killing them.
Boston has $12.7 million in cap space, but need to fill five positions. David Krejci is 31 and if they signed Draisiatl, they would move his $7.2 million salary, but it wouldn’t be easy and they’d get pennies on the dollar for Krejci with Draisaitl in the fold.
The New York Islanders want to re-sign John Tavares. Acquiring Draisaitl would show Tavares they want to win now, but if you pay Draisaitl over $9 million, then Tavares will need more next season. Those two will eat up a lot of cap space, and their ability to develop from within will take a big blow with the lost draft picks.
St. Louis needs to re-sign Colton Parayko and they only have $11 million in cap space and they need to add some depth forwards.
Dallas has Jason Spezza and Tyler Seguin down the middle and Jamie Benn’s $9.5 million deal on the wings. They need to strengthen their blueline.
The LA Kings have $10.6 million in cap space with only 17 veterans signed. Kopitar and Draisaitl would be a great one-two punch, but they don’t have much cap flexibility.
Nashville needs to re-sign Ryan Johansen this summer. He has has three 60+ point seasons. They also need to sign Viktor Arvidsson. They likely stick with players they know.
Winnipeg has Mark Schiefele. He outscored Draisaitl this past season and makes $6.125 million for the next seven seasons. Do they view Draisaitl being worth $3 million more? I doubt it.
Philadephia just unloaded Brayden Schenn for two first round picks. They have Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek on big tickets and only $11 mill in cap space. Their defence needs an upgrade more than their forwards.
Columbus just added Artemi Panarin as their elite skilled forward. They don’t have a true #1 centre, but they have many solid forwards. Cam Atkinson will need a new deal next season and they really like him. They’ve made many big moves the past few years, but I’d be surprised if they threw out a big offer sheet.

7 TEAMS REMAIN

The New York Rangers freed up cap space moving Derek Stepan and buying out Dan Girardi, but it they land UFA Kevin Shattenkirk I think they are out of Draisaitl offer sheet territory. If they don’t land Shattenkirk you can never count them out to make a big splash.

Montreal desperately needs a #1 centre. Marc Bergevin hasn’t been scared to make big deals. Tomas Plekanec’s $6 million deal is off the books next year, and moving Alex Galchenyuk doesn’t seem to bother Bergevin. Carey Price needs a raise next season. If they pay Draisaitl $9 million, Price has to be higher and likely $10 million.

Buffalo needs to re-sign Jack Eichel next season or later this summer. They have a lot of cap space and they might want to make up for missing on Draisaitl in the 2014 draft.
New Jersey has loads of cap space and they need a #1 centre. Draisaitl and Taylor Hall played well together.

Carolina has loads of cap space and could re-acquire the lost picks by moving one of their many young defenders. Their financial situation is a question and I wonder if their owner would want to take on a $9 million ticket.

Vancouver needs some offensive skill. The Sedins are on the back nine of their career. They have lots of cap space and weakening a divisional foe could have benefits.
Colorado is a strong candidate because they seemingly have no direction. They could pay Draisaitl and move Matt Duchene.

WILL IT HAPPEN?

Feb 16, 2017; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl (29) celebrates a first period goal against the Philadelphia Flyers at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

There is a chance because teams might view Edmonton as vulnerable due to the McDavid contract. Forcing them to either match a $9 million+ deal or take the picks would be enticing to teams. However, I only see two western conference teams with the money and need. Are Eastern teams as motivated to weaken a western division team’s salary cap situation? I doubt their motivation would be the same.

The other factor for Colorado, Vancouver and New Jersey is what if they don’t improve enough and the picks end up being lottery picks? When Toronto and Boston avoided the offer sheet and elected to trade Kessel for two first round picks, Boston ended up with the 2nd (Seguin) in 2010 and the 9th in 2011 (Dougie Hamilton).

The other issue is which offer sheet would work?

Signing Draisaitl to a five-year offer takes him directly to unrestricted free agency at the end of his deal. This is very rare. Teams loathe taking a player right to free agency.

They could offer him a three-year deal, but with such a short term, it would be hard to make the final year of the deal very low. So to keep Draisaitl’s rights they would have to qualify him at the same cap hit of over $9 million.

Likely an offer sheet would be a six or seven year offer. The issue with paying him $8.5 million or higher is it would be a big jump from current comparables around the NHL. Any team who writes the offer sheet is now increasing the pay structure for players like Draisaitl.

Right now there are legitimate comparisons. Vladimir Tarasenko in St. Louis has a $7.5 million cap hit. Schiefele signed an eight-year deal with a $6.125 million cap hit last summer. He outscored Draisaitl this year. Draisaitl’s biggest push offensively came on the RW, so they could also use Johnny Gaudreau’s $6.75 million cap hit.

McDavid’s only comparison was Crosby and they had to go back and use a percentage of the overall salary cap to find a cap hit number both sides felt was fair. An arbitrator would use current contracts if it went to arbitration. They wouldn’t use Anze Kopitar’s second contract, for example, and use his percentage of the cap contract.

I understand Draisaitl’s camp will want a big number, that is the agent’s job, but contrary to reports on Wednesday there has been no ask for $10 million per season. The two sides are not on the same page as of this morning, and I expect the agent to try and entice a team to submit an offer sheet. That is how business is done.

A team might bite, but if they do, they will be overpaying based on current contracts, and that is the main reason we don’t see offer sheets very often. A team has to overpay enough to entice a team not to match, and even if some think a large Draisaitl contract would hurt the Oilers’ salary cap, it would, but it would also impact all the other teams around the league. Agents would use the new Draisaitl contract as a comparison.

I know offer sheets are exciting to discuss and debate, and the Oilers situation is unique with McDavid’s massive new deal, but looking around the league there are very few teams I see willing to make an offer.

Recently by Jason Gregor:

  • Double Dees

    The quick answer is NO. Hell no.
    PC has been adamant that he will match ANY “predatory” offer sheet. And I know a poker face when I see one- he ain’t bluffing.

    • Clayton

      And that may be why a team does it. They win either way…they get Leon or they force the Oilers to match and pay more than they want to! San Jose!!! Watch for it!

    • Slipknot 8

      Trust me……He’s bluffing, he wont be signing Draisiatl at 9 million..It cant happen and it wont happen.
      If Chiarelli is any kind of GM he will be in contact with Draisiatls agent and advising him his client will never get offer sheeted, by June 30th if he isn’t signed at 7.5 AAV he will hold an auction for Draisiatl, if his client wants to play in Edmonton and with McDavid if not then I think Nathan MacKinnon would be great fit for the team.

  • madjam

    He is already signed on and just waiting to announce with McDavid signing July1 as Chia planned all along . GM’s make offer sheets only to get the player , not screw another GM over by driving up the price – never seen that happen and probably never will . .

  • fisherprice

    lol no. Every GM in this league is a coward and super conservative. The mere threat of disrupting the old boys club or having the rival GM target you as payback is enough to scare everyone straight. Think of how Anaheim and Tampa Bay were in huge cap binds last year and no one offer sheeted Kucherov, Rakell, or Lindholm.

    Let’s try and match a team where this would make a modicum of sense. It would have to be a team with a lot of cap space, a lot of draft picks, and a need for a young stud center. Let’s say Carolina, who have all these things. Okay, so they offer sheet Draisaitl at $9.5 million for 7 years. Maybe the Oilers don’t match that and Carolina gets Draisaitl and gives up 2 first rounders, a second and a third. Pretty steep price, but hey, you got your number one center who’s only 21 right? Well, one year from now you got to sign Jacob Slavin and Noah Hanifin to RFA extensions, the two D-men they clearly plan on building around going forward. If you’re Chiarelli and you’re pissed that Ron Francis just stole Leon with a predatory sheet, what the hell is stopping you from offer sheeting Slavin and Hanifin simultaneously? What if you make the numbers high enough that a budget team like Carolina is forced to give up at least one of them. You just lost one of your cornerstone defencemen AND several high picks in the process.

    It’s not going to happen. No GM wants to deal with that kind of situation.

  • Natejax97

    Hope they just sign the kid and I hope he just lights it up next year. And I hope it’s 8 years. Whatever the number is it will be big news for a while and then it shall pass and then on to playing hockey. It’s funny over the past years everyone stands back and waits for the worst possible thing to happen…and then spit all over it. Just want to see draisaitl and mcdavid in oiler silks for a long long time. Whatever the 2 numbers are they will be the right ones.

    • SeethingRed

      Remember when the Oil offer sheeted Penner…there was this white haired guy that was the GM..geez he was really pissed off…challenged Lowe to a fight…which club is that guy with again…?! Don’t say predatory offer sheets can’t happen cause this is the perfect scenario

      • NoBuBlackOPS

        Highly doubt Calgary makes an offer they have 11.1 mil in cap space. They need to sign there RFAs Bennett lazar and ferland to new deals plus a backup goalie. After that there’s not enough money to take a run at drai.

  • Anton CP

    When you look at the stipulation of offer sheet that Chiarelli can easily match the 2nd tier offer: 7.3~9.1. If any team is wild enough to offer more than 9.1 then 4 first round pick will just have to be the sacrifice to lose Draisaitl.

  • Tombstone

    I can see if a player is truely being under valued but other than that offer sheets are a dirty move. What goes around comes around. Furthermore, I believe offer sheets should come at more of a cost than just draft picks. The team making the offer should also have to pay a penalty of 25% of their offer that is paid out to the player. This way scum bag teams that are offering an offer sheet in attempts to punish another team will think twice.

  • ubermiguel

    It takes two to tango so the question you missed: where would Draisaitl actually want to sign? On your list only Montreal is still a contender (any team with Price & Weber is still a contender), the rest of the teams are awful and I doubt he’s sign there.

    Four picks including multiple first rounders is very tempting. Sometime you lose the best player but win a deal; the Oilers won another Cup after Gretzky; Lindros never won a Cup but the Nordiques…er…Avalanche sure did.

    • Slipknot 8

      It doesn’t matter, the player doesn’t get to choose who offer sheets them. They are advised to sign any offer sheet as per the NHLPA, of course they don’t have to but no player has ever walked away from it.
      Picks wont work and its not tempting, the time is now to win and not 4 years from now.

  • Homer

    I love me the Leon but I think if someone was to offer sheet him so we get 4 first rounders I’d hold the door open for him to leave with a hearty haha! We have Connor and someone just screwed over their team for the next several years while Edmonton is winning cups using cheap contracts for the foreseeable future it’s a win situation for us imho

  • Sterls

    If for some reason a bottom feeder team like NJ, Van, Vegas, Colorado etc. put an offer sheet out that would essentially mean 4 1st rounders as compensation, PC should consider it long and hard. Yes LD is a premier player and will likely be for his entire career, but having 8 first round picks over the next 4 years could add much more depth to the team in the long run making them stronger than having LD alone. When you factor in some of those picks will likely be the lottery picks of a rebuilding team it is not entirely unlikely that the Oilers could draft his replacement and still have 3 more 1st rounders. Those picks could also be used as parts of a package to acquire other talent or packaged together to move up in future drafts. They would makes PC decide between having an amazing 1-2 down the middle but limited cap space, or lots of cap flexibility with a steady stream of prospects to continue to push the team forward. If it is a team like Montreal, NY, Columbus etc match the offer as the picks won’t be worth as much, but if it is a team that is likely to struggle even with LD then it may be worth the gamble of letting him walk… as painful as that would be.

    • Slipknot 8

      The Oilers have sucked for a decade and you have the best player on the planet with zero support around him and now you’re going to ask him and the fans to wait longer……..Please stop!

      • Its.Not.Me.Its.You

        whats stopping them from turning those picks for more top end talent? if drai ends up leaving with an offer sheet all is not lost! lol if he’s asking for 9 mill i take the draft picks and dont think twice

    • NoBuBlackOPS

      VGK won’t make an offer there a new franchise vegas is going to need those four 1st round picks to grow there franchise. If they did offer sheet him they would be the one team I would consider not matching on. Cause four 1st rounders from an expansion team with the third best odds of winning the lottery for two of the four drafts is quite appealing to me. Not to mention there probably not going to be very good in the last two years of the picks we get either.

    • Heschultzhescores

      I get your logic, but LD is already proven…he’s big, he scores in the playoffs, that’s not easy to replace. Besides, if you replace him with a draft pick that’s as good as him, you can lose him in the same scenario in the future. Take what we know, and pay a decent price for it…don’t over-pay…but he’s worth 9 million.

  • deferoiler

    Jason what was the original purpose of offer sheets. Especially when their was no salary cap era, seems like a way to dick over other teams then actually serve a purpose. If teams rarely use them anymore isn’t it time to move on from this silly farce. I get the idea is supposed to be ” Team A signs player from Team B” so “Team B signs player from Team A” later, but this rarely if ever happens. This just seems like an old trick that hasn’t been faced out.

    • Jason Gregor

      The NHLPA wanted them. It was a way to end contract disputes and get players a new contract, and the bonus in the 1990s was it often got them a big raise. Salary cap has changed it, also there used to be an independant arbitrator so the compensation wasn’t just draft picks. It could be players. Like when ST.Louis offered sheeted Shanahan..the compensation turned out to be Scott Stevens for NJ. Not bad.

  • IRONman

    97 is the driver. 29 deserves 8 million. If he wants 10 million, then good bye. Hello 4 1st picks. Leon with Hall suffered in 2016 and we lost Hall. 29 is a star with 97. Ride n shot gun.

  • Craig1981

    As much as I like Draisatl, Colorado is too bad those four 1st could amount to some pretty great players. I doubt they would do it. And if they did, 8 million in extra space and those 4 picks would be pretty tempting

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    How can Leon’s agent justify asking for more than $8m when guys like Scheifele, Tarasenko and Jenny Gaudreau make no more than $7.5m?

    Don’t say “because McDavud will make $13.5m”, Leon is good but he ain’t McDavid. More than $8m puts him into Geno “Conn Smythe/3 Cups” Malkin territory.

  • Slipknot 8

    The Oiler’s cant use draft picks to go along with the best player on the planet………You need something in return, to get that you would have to trade Driasaitls prior to him getting offer sheeted, the only way to do that is for the GM to have a number in mind that cant exceed 7.0 to 7.5. McDavid and Draisiatl together cant push beyond a certain point of the teams cap for the Oilers to have success. 17% of that is already occupied by the best player on the planet.

    • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

      Well, like I said in a previous article, we’re going to have to adopt the Chi/Pitt model of utilizing young talent on their ELCs, then trading them for assets when we can’t afford them. As much as I love Leon, four 1st round picks would go a hell of a long way towards jumpstarting that process. That means we’ll have to rely heavily on our scouting and drafting. On the plus side, we have Connor. A pylon could score 30 tapping in those seeing-eye McDavid passes, so it might be more plausible than we think.

        • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

          As much as I love Maroon, the guy was pylon before playing with McDavid. He scored more goals playing on McDavid’s wing than he had in his entire career. And McDavid’s probably gonna get progressively better and better for the next two or three years at least.

  • Shane

    I like Drai even more then McDavid. The guy reminds me of the Val Kilmer character in Top Gun. 4 1st round picks though… Only 9 or 10 players in the NHL are worth that haul and Leons not one of them. Id let him walk and use the 9 million to lure Thorton and Marleau to replace him until some of those picks develope. You can definately win a cup with McD, Thorton and Nuge down the middle

  • Billy Charlebois

    I think part of what goes into the decision in how much you pay a player is how much money that player will make for the team. Basically a return on investment. The rumoured amount that McDavid will get makes sense when you consider not only what he does on the ice, but all of the off ice stuff (jersey sales, etc.). Draisaitl, on the other hand, doesn’t generate that kind of off ice income for the Oilers. I think when looking at comparable around the league, those things have to be factored in.