Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Playing the RFA Game


Based on 2007-2008 NHL Salary Cap of 50.3M, the RFA Offer sheet compensation was as follows:

AmountCompensation Due
$773,442 or lessNone
$773,442 - $1,171,8823rd round pick
$1,171,882 - $2,343,7642nd round pick
$2,343,764 - $3,515,6451st and 3rd round pick
$3,515,645 - $4,687,5271st, 2nd, and 3rd round pick
$4,687,527 - $5,859,412Two 1st's, one 2nd, one 3rd round pick
$5,859,412 or moreFour 1st round picks

As the cap goes up, these figures adjust.

The Edmonton Oilers have the following Restricted Free Agents in the summer of 2008:

Jarret Stoll
Robert Nilsson
Joni Pitkanen
Tom Gilbert
Denis Grebeshkov
Marc Pouliot
JF Jacques
Zach Stortini

FILTERING OUT THE DATA
Stortini is extremely unlikely to receive an RFA offer sheet.

JF Jacques is another guy that is unlikely to garner much interest.

MAP, although possibly will become a regular NHLer one day, has yet to prove himself in the NHL

That leaves us with:

Jarret Stoll
Robert Nilsson
Joni Pitkanen
Tom Gilbert
Denis Grebeshkov

SOME CONCERN

Say Jarett Stoll gets a 3.5M offersheet. Do you take the 1st and the 3rd?

Assume Robert Nilsson is really a full time player, and he receives a 2.2M offersheet. 2.2M is too much coin, but at the same time a 2nd round pick is insufficient compensation. Do you really want to lose the center piece of the Ryan Smyth deal over 1M?

Joni Pitkanen, meanwhile is recipient of a 4.6M offersheet. Is a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd suffient for a guy who was a top 5 pick?

Tom Gilbert gets his well earned, 2.3M offersheet? Any choice but to match?

Denis Grebeshkov - 1.5M. Is a 2nd rounder enough?

So why the concern? You end up with guys on the lower end of the chart ripe for picking, at salaries beyond their value towards the hockey club. In other words, you won't be receiving the same ''bang-for-your-buck" as you initially anticipated. At the same time, the compensation is insufficient, forcing you to reluctantly cough up the money.

PROTECTING YOUR ASSETS

Just like players can take advantage of negotiating with other teams, GMs can essentially protect their assets (RFA's) by taking them into arbitration. The kicker is that a player can only be taken to arbitration once in his career (which makes Pitkanen ineligible for team-applied arbitration), and the player must have 4 years or professional hockey experience. Using Mike Cammalleri's 3.1M and 3.6M arbitration award (despite posting 55 and 80 points in the past 2 years) for the next two years, perhaps Kevin Lowe should be thinking hard about taking Jarrett Stoll to arbitration. Especially if he ends up with 30-40 points.*

*Assumption made that he's not packaged in a trade by the summer of '08

I'm not sure what the deal is with Tom Gilbert, a guy who played a full 4 years in the NCAA, followed up with a season in the AHL and currently in the NHL.

Dennis Grebeshkov can be taken into arbitration as well.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN?

I'm not really sure what will happen.

Since the lock-out, there have been only 3 RFA offersheets, 2 of them by Kevin Lowe. History, therefore suggests there isn't much to worry about. On the flip side of the coin, we've seen numerous clubs lock up their top young players on long term deals, post-Vanek offer sheet. It will be an interesting summer - will the GM's break the ''old boys network'' or carry on the illegal activity in the name of collusion?

Perhaps, like every summer, UFA's will dominate the market, some at prices or terms that are clearly beyond logic.

OR

Perhaps a guy like Dion Phaneuf will receive an offersheet in the range below:
$4,687,527 - $5,859,412Two 1st's, one 2nd, one 3rd round pick

Perhaps a guy like Ovechkin will receive an offersheet in the range below:
$5,859,412 or moreFour 1st round picks

Perhaps Buffalo does indeed seek revenge against the Oilers and throw an offer at Nilsson or Pitkanen.

Not that I have a problem with it - it's a legal tool available for GM's to improve their hockey team. Why teams allowed the NJ Devils in the summer of 2005 to sign 3 UFA's, pressed at the cap, without consequences (i.e. Paul Martin, an RFA possibly available for only a 2nd round pick) is beyond me.

RFA offersheets - they really are fair game. Aside from rookies coming off their entry level contracts, a smart GM will make sure he that he protects his most valuable young assets or locks up good young players for the long run.

It will be interesting to see where Kevin Lowe falls, going forward.



3 comments:

Jonathan said...

Say Jarett Stoll gets a 3.5M offersheet. Do you take the 1st and the 3rd?
IF the team offering them looks like they'll be a bottom feeder next year, than yes. If Anaheim makes the offer, match.

Assume Robert Nilsson is really a full time player, and he receives a 2.2M offersheet. 2.2M is too much coin, but at the same time a 2nd round pick is insufficient compensation. Do you really want to lose the center piece of the Ryan Smyth deal over 1M?
Match the offer. Better yet, sign him early, but if need be, match the offer.

Joni Pitkanen, meanwhile is recipient of a 4.6M offersheet. Is a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd suffient for a guy who was a top 5 pick?
Match, again. Pitkanen will be a worthwhile signing.

Tom Gilbert gets his well earned, 2.3M offersheet? Any choice but to match?
No choice. Pay the man.

Denis Grebeshkov - 1.5M. Is a 2nd rounder enough?
Yep. If anybody offered a 2nd round pick for him now, I'd say trade him (once Souray/Pitkanen are back, anyway)

That said, I'd say these projected offer sheets are too low. The salaries are actually quite reasonable, even the Grebeshkov offer. Now, if somebody offers Stoll Penner money, I'd say you don't have much choice but to let him walk...

Dennis said...

Nice topic, PJO.

I'm just gonna throw some things out there and one of them's a question and hopefully you can awnser it:)

- Gilbert won't see a lot of PP time and I doubt he'll rack up many points at EV so, I don't think his counting stats will be all that impressive at year's end. So, in keeping with that theme, I'd be shocked if someone offers him a sheet. Seriously, if Hejda could play top four min on such a shitty team as the '07 Oilers and yet still receive seemingly so few offers, what's the chance anyone will notice if Gilbert plays well all year? The only thing he has working for him is youth and NCAA and A counting stats so, maybe, that's enough to draw interest. I would bet against it though. All that being said, I'd wait another 15-20 games to see if Gilbert can keep close to this current level of pay and then I'd sign him.

- Regarding Stoll, is there a rule where you have to wait a certain amount of time before trading a guy after you elect to take him to arbitration? My whole plan would be to re-up Horc and then size up either NIlsson or Gagner for the second line soft min spot, ie that's pretty much been Stoll's role as an Oiler. Right now, these new lines have been put together on the road so we don't know who MacT considers his tough min line but we'll find out as soon as the homestand begins. That being said, Stoll might just get the gig because both his wingers have played tough min in the past while Horc's haven't. Of course I'd still take Horc over him going forward but I'd like to have Stoll for one more full year while we give Gagner and Nilsson time to grow. The catch is that maybe Stoll's really done and maybe it's a waste of money to keep him past this year.

- whereas I said that no matter how good he plays, Gilbert's numbers might not be reflected via counting stats, Nilsson's a different case. He won't get an offer unless he spends the rest of the year on the big club and he won't spend the rest of the year on the big club unless he's getting top six EV time. And if he gets that, he'll be getting it with linemates that might help him to get to 50 points. If that elicts an offersheet, well like you said, the compensation for walking away would be basically fuckall, so I think you decide on whether to keep him based on how good he looked, what you think you can project him towards and also the development of his peers. If you think Cogs and Gagner can make a big leap in year two, well then you might not need to bring Nilsson back.

PunjabiOil said...

Hey Dennis,

RE: Gilbert - He's on pace for 24 points. If he continues posting strong results on ES, and logs up 20-25 minutes per ice-time, perhaps he turns some heads around the league. The difference with Hedja IMO was that he really had no counting offensive game in him. Solid defenceman, but most GMs around the league get attracted to candy (offensive numbers). That being said, if I'm the Oilers, I'd look at offering him a 4 year contract at say, ~7M. Gilbert would be hard pressed to say no to that amount of guaranteed money.

RE: Stoll, I believe if you take him to arbitration, you can't trade him for one full year. Honestly, if his numbers dont' improve, I can't see him awarded much more than the 2.2M he's currently earning. Like LA did, I would extend the award to two years. Of course personally, if he carries any value on the market, like you mentioned, move up a guy like Cogliano or Gagner to the 2nd line, and deal Stoll as part of a package deal for a top 6 winger.

Of course I very well may be irrationally worried about RFA's. That being said, Buffalo's GM, Darcy vowed to get revenge - lets see if he chooses to do that.

Here is the RFA LIST for next year. Lots of good players.

RFA's (effective July 1, 2008)

Defensemen:

Dion Phaneuf
Shea Weber
Maxim Kondratiev
Marc Popovic
Mark Stuart
Dennis Wideman
Tim Gleason
Dennis Seidenberg
Brent Seabrook
Dustin Byfuglien
James Wisniewski
Trevor Daley
Niklas Grossman
Vadim Khomitski
Kyle Quincey
Joni Pitkanen
Tom Gilbert
Denis Grebeshkov
Jay Bouwmeester
Kurtis Foster
Josh Gorges
Ryan Suter
Kevin Klein
Ville Koistinen
Olli Malmivaara
Bruno Gervais
Aaron Johnson
Fedor Tyutin
Daniel Girardi
Andrej Meszaros
Braydon Coburn
Randy Jones
Alexandre Picard
Nate Guenin
Brendan Bell
Matt Jones
Brooks Orpik
Matt Carle
Christian Ehrhoff
Steve Eminger
Shaone Morrisonn
Mike Green

Forwards:

Ryan Getzlaf
Drew Miller
Corey Perry
Jason King
Ryan Carter
Brett Sterling
Chuck Kobasew
Brandon Bochenski
Petteri Nokelainen
Stanislav Chistov
Dan Paille
Clarke MacArthur
Andrew Ladd
Chad Larose
Eric Nystrom
Tuomo Ruutu
Rene Bourque
Patrick Sharp
Adam Burish
Dan Fritsche
Curtis Glencross
Marek Svatos
Wojtek Wolski
Brad Richardson
Steve Ott
Chris Conner
Loui Eriksson
Francis Wathier
Vojtech Polak
Valtteri Filppula
Jarret Stoll
Robert Nilsson
Zack Stortini
Marc Pouliot
JF Jacques
Rostislav Olesz
Gregory Campbell
Anthony Stewart
Rob Globke
Garth Murray
Kamil Kreps
Tanner Glass
Stefan Meyer
Patrick O Sullivan
Matt Moulson
Pierre Marc Bouchard
Matt Foy
Stephane Veilleux
Aaron Voros
Andrei Kostitsyn
Mikhail Grabovski
Jordin Tootoo
Martin Erat
Rich Peverley
David Clarkson
Rod Pelley
Sean Bergenheim
Ben Walter
Tim Jackman
Jeff Tambellini
Darryl Bootland
Marcel Hossa
Nigel Dawes
Greg Moore
Antoine Vermette
Patrick Eaves
Brian McGrattan
Josh Hennessey
Riley Cote
Mike Richards
Jeff Carter
RJ Umberger
Stefan Ruzicka
Josh Gratton
Fredrik Sjostrom
Daniel Carcillo
Joe Pavelski
Steve Bernier
Marcel Goc
Ryane Clowe
Tomas Plihal
Lukas Kasper
Brad Boyes
David Backes
Jay McClement
Ryan Craig
Alex Steen
Matt Stajan
Kyle Wellwood
Rick Rypien
Ryan Shannon
Alexander Ovechkin
Eric Fehr
Brian Sutherby
Brooks Laich
Boyd Gordon
Tomas Fleischmann


Goalies:

Jonas Hiller
Kari Lehtonen
Brent Krahn
Curtis McElhinney
Pascal Leclaire
Tyler Weiman
Jimmy Howard
Jeff Deslauriers
Henrik Lundqvist
Marc-Andre Fleury
Dimitri Patzold
Hannu Toivonen