NHL Rumor Mill – August 20, 2014

Five pressing NHL offseason issues, and a suggestion for the Predators to sign Ryan Johansen to an offer sheet. 

Could the Blackhawks trade Johnny Oduya to become cap compliant?

Could the Blackhawks trade Johnny Oduya to become cap compliant?

USA TODAY: Kevin Allen lists five pressing NHL offseason issues. The Bruins and Blackhawks must shed salary before the season begins, the Blue Jackets have yet to re-sign center Ryan Johansen, Daniel Alfredsson has yet to decide if he’ll return or retire, Martin Brodeur has yet to find a new team and a bidding war could be brewing for former Blackhawks prospect Kevin Hayes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Allen observes, the Bruins are above the salary cap by over $800K, and while they’ll get cap relief by placing Marc Savard ($4.027 million) on LTIR, it could cost around $5 million to re-sign Torey Krug and Reilly Smith, which could mean trading a salaried player to free up more cap space. The Bruins have a surplus of defensemen and could move one of them. The Blackhawks could also move out a defenseman (Johnny Oduya? Nick Leddy?) to free up cap space.

 I agree with Allen that the prospect of Johansen receiving an offer sheet is unlikely, as the Blue Jackets claim they will match any offer. Still, a rival could sign Johansen to an expensive offer sheet, if for nothing else than to force the Jackets to pay more than they wanted to keep him. Alfredsson is expected to reach a decision next month. Brodeur could be waiting until the start of the season, if not longer, for sign with a new team. Hayes’ camp was supposed to narrow down their field of suitors this week. No word since Monday on his status. 

**UPDATE** The New York Rangers signed Hayes today to an entry-level contract.

THE TENNESSEAN: Josh Cooper suggests the Nashville Predators should sign Ryan Johansen to an offer sheet.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m sure Predators GM David Poile understands the Blue Jackets aren’t bluffing when they claim they’ll match any offer for Johansen. Having gone through that process with Shea Weber two years ago I doubt Poile’s keen to inflict that pain on another club. I also doubt he’s that Machiavellian to sign Johansen to a really expensive offer sheet with the knowledge of the salary cap pain it could create for the Blue Jackets. 

47 Comments

  1. Spector’s Note states that he doubts the Predator GM would sign Johansen to a offer sheet because the Blue Jackets claim they’ll match any offer, the Predators matched the Shea Weber offer, he knows the pain it could inflict on the Blue Jackets with the salary cap and doubts the Predator is “keen to inflict that pain on another club.”

    the last i checked, the NHL is not a church group. it’s competition. why in the world would the Predator GM not want to cause salary cap problems for another club? It’s part of gaining a competitive advantage. the problem with making an expensive offer to Johansen is how expensive does it have to be for him to sign, and on the chance that the Blue Jackets don’t match, the Predators would then have to pay on that contract. The Flyers wanted Weber badly, obviously, by the fact of the offer made to Weber. they took their best shot. the Predators matched. obviously that Weber contract has caused the Predators pain. do you think Holmgren regrets inflicting that pain on the Predator salary cap? i seriously doubt it, because it created a competitive advantage for the Flyers and the other 28 teams by hamstringing the Predators ability to spend. if a team could do the same thing to all 29 other teams, that team would gain a competitive advantage with respect to all 29 other teams.

    ridiculous to even make the comment that personal feelings or emotion enter into the analysis of a business decision by an NHL GM. you should know better and if you don’t know better, you’re naive and totally misguided in your thinking.

    • Yes, they’re so competitive when it comes to offer sheets. You might wish to rethink that statement.

      • offers sheets are entirely within the rules. but to suggest that a GM wouldn’t do an offer sheet because of what it would do to another team’s salary situation is ridiculous. if they wanted to ban the offer sheet, they would.

        the NHL is a capitalist system, survival of the fittest, when it comes to offer sheets. everyone acts in their own self-interest. if Poile thought Johansen could help their team and could offer the money to entice him to sign, he’d do it. whether that offer is matched is our of Poile’s control. just like Holmgren did with Weber. Weber was/is exactly what the Flyers need. He went for it, by offering a long-term expensive, front-loaded contract. Holmgren did just about everything he could to land Weber, except offering a trade so the Predator could at least put players in jerseys and let Weber walk. Holmgren could have and should have offered a trade before the Predator matched.

        No team helps other teams out intentionally. they all act in their own best interest. if acting in their own best interest incidentally happens to benefit another team, fine. but no team helps another team to the detriment of their own team. that would violate their fiduciary duty to their own team.

        • We’re all aware of the rules regarding offer sheets, Jango. It doesn’t detract from the fact that most NHL general mangers prefer not to employ that option. Indeed, the reason offer sheets remain in this CBA is because the NHLPA wanted them there. The league tried to negotiate them out of the current CBA.

          • What was the last trade deal made between Philly and Nashville?

            Jango27, You act like the managers of the league are all simple machines. That look at a proposed move and set it in progress regardless of the persons involved. I will remind you, funny that it needs to be done, that even GM’s of NHL hockey teams are human. They make moves on pure analytical information as well as on gut feelings. They understand that people are involved in the game and that people can become emotion. That an antagonistic move will result in another antagonistic move.

            When they trade players they do take into account the players service, their family lives and how much they actually like the guy they are trading. Sometimes moves have to be made.

            Your assertion that Spector’s analysis can’t possibly be correct is how did you put it. “It’s ridiculous.”

            I’m not on here going to tell or Spector or who ever else may read this what is going to happen. However I will tell you. That people put forth opinions, opinions that are more probable than ridiculous even if you don’t agree with them.

        • I’d guess Holmgren tried the trade route, and when that didn’t work, then came the offer sheet. Trouble is, if NSH didn’t accept four 1st rounders… It’s why I don’t think offer sheets work. If it comes from a playoff calibre team, it’ll likely be matched because the picks figure to be low. A weaker team might get the player, but can that player change the team’s fortunes enough that the picks surrendered aren’t of a high quality?

      • Spector,

        Question. If the owners have such disdain for offer sheets, why not negotiate them out of the new CBA? They had their chance. Simply claiming victory in this discussion because your “opinion” is that owners in general do not like offer sheets is simply not based on fact. Again, what is fact, however, is the owners agreed to have offer sheets in the latest CBA. That was their choice and it is a tool in the CBA. Sure owners can get emotional. They will often match offer sheets they should not because of it. No one on this planet can convince me that matching the Vanek offer sheet made sense. That decision set that franchise back for years. With all do respect the jury is out on if the Preds made the right call with Weber. Looking at the players they could have drafted with the 4 picks (see the Flyers drafts) I am not so sure.

        Bottom line is teams that lock up their players in advance don’t have to worry about offer sheets. Those who choose to initiate an offer sheet typically are doing so for business / hockey reasons. Those who choose to match often do so for emotional reasons . By nature of pure negotiating they ARE at a competitive disadvantage. Thats M and A 101. Buying or retaining on emotion can often lead to poor decisions. That was not the case with Kesler for instance, but you better believe it was with Vanek and probably Weber as well.

        • Joe, the owners tried to have offer sheets negotiated out of the CBA, but the NHLPA wanted them to remain and got their way as a concession. GMs disdaining offer sheets is based in fact, and I’ve already cited examples.

    • You have to remember that although they are in competition with each other, they do also work together on a number of things for the benefit of the league. If you go around burning bridges its not good for the league. You also have to remember that there are cliques in the league and if you piss off someone in a group you can get blackballed by the whole group. That’s why you only make offer sheets if you actually want a player at that price.

      • Bingo! Poile has no history of pitching offer sheets to rival players and I don’t see him doing so now. Some general managers as a matter of principle don’t believe in offer sheets. Brian Burke was famously against them and still is. While Cooper is merely making a suggestion, I don’t believe Poile would seriously consider that advice.

      • if you want a player at that price, you make the offer. but you have to be prepared to take the player if his team doesn’t match. that’s the only consideration, and that’s exactly my point. no team refuses to make an offer because of what pain it can inflict on the other team’s salary cap if that other team decides to match.

        • And that’s where you’re wrong, Jango. Most GMs actually don’t want to use that option because it generates bad blood among them. Look at the holy hell Brian Burke raised over the Oilers signing away Dustin Penner. Remember how pissed off Darcy Regier was when forced to match the Oilers offer sheet for Vanek? That was the high-water mark for offer sheets in the NHL. Since then, with the last, notable exception of Weber and the Flyers, it hasn’t been done since. Among the reasons is they’re just not popular among NHL general managers.

          • Feaster is currently trying to figure out how to build outdoor rinks for kids in Tampa instead of doing real NHL type work…guess people were not overly impressed at the “competitve advantage” the Flames got from the ROR offersheet fiasco.

          • Lyle–

            i don’t disagree that the offer sheet isn’t a preferred strategy. It doesn’t happen that often. Your explanation for why it’s not done that much is bad blood between GM’s. My explanation is that the offering team has to offer a number that the current team either can’t afford or refuses to pay, in either case not matching the offer sheet. So the current team can’t afford the offer, in which they probably trade the player first, or they refuse to match because the offer is too high.

            But the point being, it’s hard to acquire a player by offer sheet, unless the offering team is willing to over-pay. The other point is that it’s safe to assume a GM decides on whether to try to acquire a player if the team will be better with that player. A lot of factors go into whether a team is better overall with a change of even 1 player. But the bottom line is whether the team is better, not whether there will be bad blood with other GMs. They’ll deal with you if it will make their team better. Of course I’m not an NHL GM, but it’s my opinion based on the way I believe professionals and executives approach their jobs, as a general rule and also are required to. As the Corleones say, “it’s not personal, it’s just business.”

        • Taking the player is not the only consideration. The believe the reason most GM’s do not do the offer sheet route is the fear that someday one of their players will receive an offer sheet.

    • and I am still trying to figure out how Philly “created a competitive advantage for themselves by still not having a true number one or number two defender.
      That was what the shot at Weber was…filling a huge hole on the Flyers, not to weaken Nashville.

      • agree. the motivation was not to hurt the Predators but to get Weber. it didn’t work out. but i’m sure the other teams in the Predator division weren’t crying about the Predator breaking the bank to keep Weber.

        • Yeah, because the Predators have a history of being such big-time free spenders….

          • not whether the Predators had a history of being big spenders. only that a big financial commitment like that to 1 player would be reason for concern to be able to fill out a competitive roster, in a small non-traditional hockey market. Matching the offer sheet to Weber had to be a tough pill for the Predators, but they really had no choice after just losing Suter.

            That’s why i say Holmgren should have offered a trade to ensure the Flyers got Weber. the rumor is the Predator wanted B Schenn and Couturier. no verified source but i’ve read it on Flyer fan boards, maybe somewhere else. if that’s what they wanted, i think the Flyers should have done that deal. I think Weber would have been to the Flyers what Stevens was for the Devil. and I like both Schenn and Couturier, at least to see another 2 seasons and how they do.

  2. Lol! Machiavellian…perfect.

    • i guess next i’m gonna read that the Predator GM feels bad for the teams that finished below the Predators so he’s gonna start giving away draft picks to help those teams out, because Predator ownership wants their GM to be known as a nice guy :-)))))))

      • Southern hospitality… or one of my favorites Southern Comfort.

        • now you’re talkin. i like Maker’s Mark ;-)

      • If you do you’ll be the only one writing it. Have a nice day.

      • Maybe you don’t remember how a few years ago a few GM’s disclosed their distaste for offer sheets. There was a real question whether there was collusion going on with the GM’s behind the scenes.
        This is an old boys club, plain and simple. If you want to be know as the GM that tries to undercut other GM’s, then by all means, throw around the offer sheets. You are free to make those choices, but be prepared that these guys have long memories and will screw you to the end boards next time you want to make a trade.
        You are right when you say “this is a business decision.” The decision is do I do this to another GM and try and steal away a good player with the possible risk that I offend him and other GM’s and loose out on future trade opportunities?

        Your ultra aggressive style only works for so long before people refuse to talk to you. It eventually comes back and bites you right in the a$$.

        Personally, I’m not sure Philly didn’t work out what Weber would accept with the Preds and then offered it so the Preds could get the deal done and save face. One GM helping another.

        • no way did Holmgren want to help the Predators keep Weber. the Flyers wanted him.

          • Eegad I was just trying to compliment Lyle on ggreat use of word and it rolled this far down hill?…sorry Lyle. Past few days there is a whole lot of trolling going on.

        • people never refuse to do a deal if it helps their team. period end of story.

          no one liked George Steinbrenner either, including players, but it didn’t stop players from signing with the Yankees.

          and guess who has the most World Series Championships since Steinbrenner bought the Yankees. you guessed it–the Yankees.

          • True, but regarding the Predators and Johansen, it’s not gonna happen, for all the reasons cited by myself and others here. While we’re all well aware of how offer sheets work and why they exist, it’s also well-known that they aren’t that popular among NHL general managers, hence the reason there’s been so few of them since they were introduced in the previous CBA nearly a decade ago.

          • Using Steinbrenner and the Yankees as some sort of comparable is a weak attempt to support your statements. There’s no comparison here.

          • I believe most gms know there is a rather short shelf life for their current jobs and if you go around throwing out offer sheets you are probably going to burn a bridge or 2 down the road. Yes they want to win and are competitive, but the NHL and its teams are along way from being run like the Yankees and MLB. The scope is not even close to comparable.

          • the point about Steinbrenner and the Yankees is that Steinbrenner was never popular with anyone–most of the players, some of his managers, and probably all of the owners. but it never prevented him from doing deals and winning championships. so i don’t buy the argument that executives, in any sport, make decisions against the best interest of their team intentionally, because of personal reasons.

  3. Suppose Nashville offers $7 million to Johansen (his apparent asking price) and Columbus does what it says, and matches. What message does your offer send to Filip Forsberg? What about Craig Smith and Colin Wilson? Seth Jones? And worse; what if Columbus doesn’t match? What kind of chemistry would you expect from a “golden boy” in the midst of your own young talent? The reason GM’s rarely do offer sheets is pure self interest: the cost can be a lot more than what you offer the target and and the move can create problems well into the future. There are probably times when this actually makes sense, especially to GM’s on a short leach ala Holmgren. But not many.

    • Plus….What is the compensation required for a $7 million dollar salary?

      “$6,268,176 – $7,835,219: Two 1st’s, a 2nd and a 3rd round draft pick.”

      That would be suicide for the GM. This is probably the best reason not to send an offer sheet.

  4. Kevin Hayes To NYR…… I’m pretty surprised the Rangers were considered underdogs given their history of chasing these kind of guys….

  5. Lyle and Jango in my opinion are both correct.

    While GMs won’t want to burn relationships with a potential future trade partner by utilizing tactics that cap-cripple each other when they are forced to match, it doesn’t mean by any stretch that when they feel their team is close, or there is some incredible player that can change the fortunes of their franchise that they won’t still do it.

    They’ll stab each other in the face if they feel like it will help them in a big way, they just do so sparingly. Edmonton & Vanek – act of desperation to be relevant. Philly & Weber – trying to secure a new and improved Chris Pronger.

  6. you know its a boring time in the hockey world when we’re arguing about offer sheets and ryan johansen! offer sheets are sleezy, and create drama. wish teams would do more of them!! so u guys have something better to talk about! go leafs go!

    • :-)))))))))

  7. Let’s all remember one of, if not the biggest reason for a lack of offer sheets. It has nothing to do with any general manager being a nice guy, however, no general manager wants to be perceived as the one that greatly raised the inflationary bar for salaries as we all know that once player A receives an offer sheet for a ridiculously high amount, then other players and their agents will use player A’s salary as a guideline for their salaries. Some may feel that it is the Old Boys’ Network, some may call it collusion, I prefer to call it good business sense.

    • true, and because it’s hard to get a player with an offer sheet without over-paying.

      • Not to mention the fact they’re not popular among NHL general managers. Again, you don’t need to explain the business side of sports in general, and hockey in particular, to me. Regarding the Predators, as I’ve repeatedly stated, and which you continually ignore, is the fact he has no history of pitching offer sheets to players, has no intention of doing so, isn’t Machiavellian enough to make a pitch for a rival team’s player merely to drive up the cost for that club to re-sign the player, especially after going through having to match the Flyers offer for Weber. That was my main point in my comments. To call me “naive” was baseless. Furthermore, your bringing up Steinbrenner was a poor comparable for this instance, as there’s no one in the NHL who is continually using offer sheets trying to pluck away rival stars. As I’ve repeatedly stated, and again, which you continue to ignore, is the fact offer sheets aren’t popular among NHL GMs and owners. The league tried to get offers sheets out of the current CBA during the last lockout but the NHLPA insisted that option remain. It’s the players, not the owners and GMs, who want offer sheets, because it gives them possible leverage for increasing their salaries. And you don’t believe emotion gets involved in the business of hockey? You obviously haven’t studied the business of hockey very well over the past 30 years or to contract negotiations. Now who’s being naive?

  8. Bruins miss out on a good deal for Hayes but on the bright side we got Caron locked up ARG!

  9. Unsigned UFAs – so the question is, will Kevin Hayes gain success out of college like Adam Oates, or will he fall into the abyss like Ray Staszak? Both players, Oates and Staszak signed as UFAs by the Red Wings in 1985. Adam Oates became, well Adam Oates. Ray became a footnote in hockey history.

    • If he signed in Calgary, Edmonton, Boston, Montreal , Detroit he would have been a superstar….Now he is stuck in mediocrity …..he just signed with the same team that won more playoff series than anyone but Chicago or LA in the last 3 years!!!! He sucks now! …….poor guy!

      • Today, this guy is Pouliot! WINNING!!!!++++

  10. Poile would never sign Johansson to an offer sheet … he isn’t a defenseman …

  11. THIS WHOLE OFFER SHEET STUFF DRIVES ME NUTS. THE NHL SHOULD PUT A CAP ON THAT. IT PURPOSELY FORCES TEAMS TO OVER PAY. A OFFER SHEET IN MY EYES SHOULD OMLY BE A COUPLE OF MILLION FROM ORIGINAL OFFERING CLUB. THIS WAY IT REALLY FORCES THE PLAYER TO CHOOSE A CLUB THAT HE REALLY WANT S TO PLAY FOR , NOT JUST FOR THE MONEY!!!