Friday, August 3, 2007

Regarding offer sheets

Good riddance, Dustin Penner.

As I mentioned in a previous post, the 25-year-old power forward who will be making "Scott Hartnell money" (never thought I'd say that) for the next five years under Krazy Kevin Lowe's regime in Edmonton thanks to Brian Burke's refusal to match an offer sheet tendered by Lowe, scored six goals in eight games against the Sharks last year, mostly thanks to a San Jose defense that simply couldn't move him away from the front of the net.

But if I am to suspend my glee at the thought that the Sharks now only need to face Penner four times a year rather than eight, I suppose it's time to look at RFA offer sheets as a whole. While the literature on usually consists of stories regarding assistant coach Tim Hunter's fishing exploits and Steve Bernier's enthralling three-day vacation in New York coupled with his craving for French-Canadian dish Poutine that is hindered by his diet, Sharks radio play-by-play man Dan Rusanowsky has an insightful op-ed article up regarding this very subject.

While he looks at the situation with obligatory teal-colored shades ("It seems the San Jose Sharks are pretty well set up for success in this new universe..." even though they have seven players set to become RFAs next year, most of whom are worth a "grossly overpaid," to quote Burke, offer sheet), he points out that the "subtle result" of Burke failing to match will increase the propensity for GMs to hand out offer sheets once managers realize that the tag-on to what a player's market value actually is (a.k.a. Penner isn't worth "Scott Hartnell money" -- hell Scott Hartnell isn't worth Scott Hartnell money, but that's a topic to be broached a different time -- but is offered more in an attempt to secure his services) is simply a "premium" that Rusanowsky compares with stock options and shares tendered by "multinational businesses conducting an executive talent search."

So will there be more offer sheets in the future? Well, at least according to Dan, yes, once GMs pick up on the fact that what appears to be an inflated contract is necessary to procure a player. But I think scenarios such as the one the Ottawa Sun predicted with the Toronto Maple Leafs throwing a league-maximum, long-term contract at Jason Spezza when he becomes an RFA next year is probably metered out by the amount of draft picks they would have to cough up in compensation, especially in this day and age under a CBA that (supposedly) puts a greater emphasis on drafting. I think Rusanowsky brings up an excellent point that a "premium" is automatically added to the salaries of those tendered offer sheets and this needs to be gauged by GMs in arbitration cases. For example, if Kings forward Mike Cammalleri, who was involved in such a case yesterday, cites the Penner deal to the arbiter and discusses how he almost scored twice as many points as him should be rebuffed by Lombardi through the concept of a "premium" tag-on to Penner's true market worth.

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