Toronto Maple Leafs Mitch Marner might be exploring the option of offer sheets. What does that mean for the New York Islanders and RFAs in the league?
Darren Dreger shared yesterday that he would be shocked if Mitch Marner and agent Darren Farris aren’t on a plane on June 26th. That date is important. It is the start of the NHL free agent visiting process. A process New York Islanders fans are all too familiar with.
However, what we may not be aware of is that process is eligible to all NHL free agents, both restricted and unrestricted. Dreger contends that flight would begin the Marner camp’s process of visiting clubs in a position to make an offer sheet.
And Marner may not be alone.
Later in the day, Ray Ferraro also
RFAs On The March
Ferraro took it a step further, asking rhetorically; ‘why wouldn’t every RFA do the same?’
The holdup always has been a lack of teams willing to provide the offer sheet.
This year is different, and several factors will impact this NHL offseason in terms of offer sheets:
- The greatest crop of RFA’s in NHL history
- The max deal RFA contracts of both Conor MacDavid and Nikita Kucherov (Florida tax friendly)
- The expiration of the CBA in 2021- which will either make deals like this a bargain today or impossible to accomplish in the years to come
- The fact that one 2018 UFA, who shall not be named has already shown us that loyalty no longer has a place in the NHL
- and, in Marner’s case specifically, that inferior teammates like Tavares and Matthews will make more…
Ferraro hedged that anyone can make an offer; however, the player must sign it. The hosts of TSN Overdrive, (including one Jamie McLellan) also posited that a player like Marner wants to stay a Leaf.
Ahhh, but didn’t one guy out on the Island actually say the same thing last year?
We all know how little that can mean when it comes to free agency.
Even if the Islanders can’t tempt Mitch Marner with a big money offer, there are many RFAs out there that could be had. Also if retained, these RFA signings will have a trickle-down effect on the ability for teams to keep their own UFA’s and high salaried roster players intact.
Sebastian Aho does not seem interested in a bridge deal to UFA status. Chip Alexander reports that Aho will not comment on negotiations other than that he hopes Carolina offers a long-term contract. The Canes have the cap room.
However, a max deal for Aho could make signing UFA Michael Ferland problematic.
Tampa is not currently in a position to offer Brayden Point a long-term deal.
The 23-year-old Point finished with 41 goals and 92 points, (just two behind Marner).
Quietly, the Jets find themselves in a similar situation as do the Leafs. Winnipeg has to satisfy RFA’s Patrick Laine, Jacob Trouba and Kyle Connor. And even if they do, UFA’s Brandon Tanev and Kevin Hayes will most certainly find homes elsewhere.
The Avalanche will make Mikko Rantanen the highest paid player on the team.
Rantanen is a star but his teammate Nathan McKinnon is arguably the best player in the league. McKinnon is under contract until 2023 at a reasonable $6.3 million AAV. How long will that salary imbalance fly? Further, Joe Sakic needs to address 20+ expiring organizational contracts. Are the Avalanche ready to match the power of the offer sheet?
Brock Boeser has said he is open to anything in Vancouver. When the Nucks offer a one year prove you can stay healthy deal will Boeser be singing the same tune?
Timo Meier is an established pro who had a breakout playoff performance. Is he worth more than a Michael Nylander (six years, $6.9 million AAV) deal?
Many would argue yes; Meier is worth A Lot More!
And if the Sharks keep him, what does that mean for Karlsson, Thornton, even Joe Pavelski or RFA Kevin Labanc?
We should expect 2019 to be the year of the offer sheet. If so, Lou will be front and center!