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Dual Offer Sheets Can Accelerate A Rebuild

"Are you going to Edmonton?"  "I don't know, you?"
"Are you going to Edmonton?" "I don't know, you?"

The concept of a dual offer sheet is simple:  send offer sheets to two separate restricted free agents currently employed by the same team, especially when that team is in some amount of cap distress.  Essentially, you are forcing a team to make a choice between their assets.

Article 10.4 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement [Warning, PDF link] covers the compensation levels and draft pick requirements for offer sheets:

Clubs must use their own draft picks (being those awarded directly to the Club by the League for use by it in the Entry Draft, including such draft picks described in the first clause of this parenthetical that a Club has traded or encumbered, and subsequently re-acquired or unencumbered.)  Clubs cannot acquire picks to use as compensation (with the exception being a Club's own draft selections that are traded and then re-acquired).

Article 10.4 also outlines that the selections must be available the following season:

  • Clubs owing one (1) draft selection must have it available in the next draft.
  • Clubs owing two (2) draft selections in different rounds must have them available in the next draft.
  • Clubs owing three (3) draft selections in different rounds must have them available in the next draft.
  • Clubs owing two (2) draft selections in the same round, must have them available in the next three (3) drafts.
  • Clubs owing three (3) draft selections in the same round must have them available in the next four (4) drafts, and so on

Below are the estimated salary ranges and corresponding compensation for 2010-2011:

Salary Range Compensation

 $        1,034,249 No Compensation
 $        1,034,249  $        1,567,043  2012 3rd round pick
 $        1,567,043  $        3,134,088  2012 2nd round pick
 $        3,134,088  $        4,701,131  2012 1st round pick, 2012 3rd round pick
 $        4,701,131  $        6,268,175  2012 1st round pick, 2012 2nd round pick, 2012 3rd round pick
 $        6,268,175  $        7,835,219  2012 1st round pick, 2012 1st round pick, 2012 2nd round pick, 2012 3rd round pick
 $        7,835,219
 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 1st round picks.


By navigating the salary ranges and compensation a General Manager could send two offer sheets and risk his 1st, 2nd, and 3rd round picks in the 2012 draft.  An offer sheet between $1,567,043 and $3,134,088 would require a 2nd round pick as compensation.  An offer sheet between $3,134,088 and $4,701,131 would require a 1st and a 3rd round pick as compensation.

The best way to make sure the strategy makes an impact is to target teams who are either cash poor or cap-strapped with two worthwhile RFAs and force that team's General Manager to make a decision.  Below is a list of teams with financial issues and attractive RFAs.

Chicago Blackhawks

Michael Frolik ($1,275,000)
Troy Brouwer ($1,025,000)

  • The Blackhawks 2011-12 payroll has already cleared $54 million and they only have 16 players under contract.  In one of the most mind-blowing trades at the deadline, Stan Bowman was able to land Michael Frolik from the Panthers in exchange for Jack Skille and $24 of trinkets.  Frolik is the goods.  Through his first two years in the league, he took on the tough minutes next to Stephen Weiss and beat them while scoring 20 goals  He's skilled and physical and hasn't entered his prime.  A offer sheet worth $3.5-3.75 million would be ideal for Frolik.  Brouwer, on the other hand, is a physical wing capable of scoring goals and playing a supporting role to skilled linemates.  Brouwer has played sparingly on the penalty kill in Chicago, but he's been solid in those limited minutes.  An offer for $1.6 million per season would fit with the offer to Frolik. 

New York Rangers

Ryan Callahan ($2,300,000)
Brandon Dubinsky ($1,850,000)

  • It's Déjà vu all over again in New York.  Brandon Dubinsky and Ryan Callahan were part of the initial inspiration for the concept of dual offer sheets and two years later, as the Statler Brothers would say, Here We Are Again. Dubinsky and Callahan have improved by an enormous amount since then and the two of them still make up the ideal targets for a dual offer sheet.  In George Ays' wonderful breakdown of both Dubinsky and Callahan we learned that they are both extremely valuable players with Dubinsky carrying more offensive ability and Callahan carrying much more ability on the penalty kill.  Ays' predictions on both Dubinsky and Callahan were nearly bang on last season.  The Rangers' payroll is $42 million and the rumor is that they are trying to make a run at Brad Richards.  If Ays is right, and Dubinsky is a 60 point+ guy going forward (note the caveat about shot totals was fulfilled) he's worth $4 million.  If Callahan is going to post 50 points per year and continue his superior work on the power play, he's worth $3 million.  It's worth noting that Callahan was a Tom Renney favorite and vice-versa.

Winnipeg Somethings

Zach Bogosian ($3,375,000)
Andrew Ladd ($2,350,000)

  • Winnipeg isn't in any sort of cap distress, but the Oilers could make life miserable on their future division rivals by either pushing the signing cost up or stealing an extremely talented player out from underneath the Winnipegs.  At the age of 20, Bogosian is still just a baby in defensive years, but the Thrashers paid for his development and now the Oilers could send him an offer sheet and avoid development costs on a top-pairing defenseman who should be in the lineup for the next 10 years.  Ladd is an even-strength killer and a penalty killing maven.  He's also captain of the Winnipegs, so unless the offer sheet number is significantly higher than the Wininpegs are willing to go, he will be the least likely leave of any player mentioned here. 

For a team like Edmonton, Long Island or Florida, teams exiting a rebuild, dual offer sheets make sense because they allow a rebuilding team to acquire a proven, young, veteran player for a reasonable return.  Adding anyone of the above players to a rebuilding team's lineup gives them a talented veteran to lead a young core.It's time for my annual dual offer-sheet article in which I implore some sharp NHL General Manager to step into free agency and force his colleague's hands through the use of dual offer sheets.