The Carolina Hurricanes sent shockwaves throughout the NHL last Saturday when Jesperi Kotkaniemi accepted their offer sheet for 1 year at $6.1M. No team has successfully acquired a player through an offer sheet since Dustin Penner in 2007, and there have only been two offers period since 2014; both involving the Hurricanes and Canadiens.
NHL GMs are incredibly risk-averse when it comes to the use of offer sheets, partially because the circumstances have to be perfect for it to be successful, but also because they are worried about payback. There’s a lot of chatter about big-name RFAs and the potential for some team to offer sheet them, but the fact that we’ve only seen 10 players accept them (with 9 being matched) in the 21st century means that we should virtually never expect it to happen.
As I’m writing this, we don’t know if Montreal is going to match Carolina’s offer or not, but since the deadline is Saturday, you might be reading knowing the outcome. The Hurricanes must really want Kotkaniemi — and they’ve made a very smart offer that put the Canadiens in an incredibly difficult situation. Either the Habs match and go over the cap (plus have a high number to qualify him for next summer) or they lose their 21-year-old 3rd overall pick for just a late 1st round pick and a 3rd. The Hurricanes pay a pretty penny in salary, but the picks being moved are virtually inconsequential. Even if they don’t land Kotkaniemi, they put another Eastern Conference team in a bind.
I have to wonder if this offer sheet even happens if Montreal didn’t offer sheet Sebastian Aho two summers ago for 5 years at $8.454M. I’m sure they would’ve considered going after Kotkaniemi anyway, but their pettiness (in a mostly good and hilarious way) shows that this was also about payback:
20 is Aho’s number— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) August 28, 2021
Oh my god pic.twitter.com/tgn66dMARm— Kevin Papetti (@KPapetti) August 28, 2021
Now put yourself in the shoes of an NHL GM. Would you be willing to use offer sheets in order to try to acquire players? As we know, they almost always get matched and there is the potential for the other team to not want to talk with you anymore, plus they could go after your RFAs later on. On the other hand, offer sheeting isn’t against the rules, and if the perfect circumstances line up where you think you can acquire a talented young player for just some picks, it might be smart to do it.
What do you think?
If you were a GM, would you use offer sheets as a tool to try to acquire young talent?
|Never, I’d be worried about payback
|Most likely not unless it’s a star
|Yes, every so often for the right player
|Often, it’s not against the rules