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Canada, AB • Canada •
There is something called the right of first refusal in the C.B.A., if you read the paragraphs that deal with offer sheets you see this term a lot and it's important to remember.

Recently with Brian Burke and his latest calling out of Kevin Lowe and blaming him for the sky rocketing price of player salaries this argument raised it's ugly head again. I've read bloggers on here say everything from, "Burke was right on! "to, "Lowe had to do what he had to do!" to ,"it's taboo for g.m.s to make offer sheets.".

Well it's impossible to tell you what to believe but "the right of first refusal" is crucial to making an argument either way. Basically it means if what I'm offering your player is too high than you can say no or if you think he's worth it you can say ok. Some other factors go into this, like the amount of time and money you invested developing this player, what you think this player can do in the future, how many injuries you know this player had that weren't really reported on and even the lack of draft picks you have and how strong the draft is that is coming up.

If we take the Dustin Penner offer sheet as a case in point you see a couple things. First these two G.M.'s were friends and now they are most definitely not so there is an argument for the lack of respect G.m.'s have for each other when an offer sheet is made. Lowe felt Penner had the potential to be an elite power forward and signed him to a contract of $4.25 million every year for 5 years, at the time guys you were getting 30 more points a year were getting that kind of money. Lowe was paying for potential though. At the same time he had to give up his first round draft pick (and other picks well), for a while last season it was looking like the Oilers might have ended up in the draft lottery and speculation arose about if they won and the ducks got a number one over all it looks like Burke was a genius in rejecting the offer sheet! Instead the oilers end up with a first round pick from the Pronger trade (in all honesty Burke won the cup because of that pronger trade IMO and should shut it) and paid a guy 4.25 million for 47 points and a minus 12 rating. The only problem in Burkes mind is that because Dustin Penner makes 4.25 with 50 points (roughly) and is -12 than Perry with his 55 point and +12 rating is now worth 5.25 (cap hit) and gets all mad about it. Fair enough.

Did Lowe drive the market into the atmosphere? Well G.M.'s in this league shoot themselves in the foot with every chance they get so the salaries were going to go up because if they get too high and the revenues suck then they see a portion come back to them! Why not pay?? So Lowe didn't cause the salary increase he just sped up the process, for instance offering Vanek Iginla money is nothing short of ridiculous. But if the Sabers use their right of first refusal and accept the offer than the market place has dictated his potential worth, not his actual worth, but his potential worth. I say that because nobody believes you can compare Vanek to the 7 mil guys yet but they think you might be able to in 3 years.

The offer sheets are part of the CBA and as such aren't cheating, they are not against the spirit of hockey... they are simply, in the minds of G.M.'s, a last resort for incompetence.
Filed Under:   Oilers   CBA   Offer Sheets  
August 6, 2008 4:16 PM ET | Delete
About a year late, but a decent effort
August 6, 2008 7:49 PM ET | Delete
Well it was actually inspired by recent comments on this site and the total lack of anything hockey righjt now...how many times can i read Sundin is about to tie his shoe or whatever he's doing now...
August 6, 2008 9:05 PM ET | Delete
Nice blog. I liked the quote "a last resort for incompetence." How true that is...although Lowe has every right to go there because he has to pay a price in draft picks for doing so. I also agree with you about Sundin. I wish the media would just shut up already about the guy.
August 8, 2008 3:15 PM ET | Delete
I'm surprised that there's not more concern on the part of the players regarding offer sheets. The Vanek and Penner offer sheets are not as bad for GMs as they are for the players. Remember, the total amount of all player's salaries across the whole league is fixed by the CBA at 54%. I can't be any more or less than that. It actually doesn't matter from a league revenues or expenses point of view what any individual player gets paid. All that a particular player's salary indicates is what *proportion of the overall total player salaries he gets*. If Penner is offered a proportion that is too large relative his talent and on-ice production, the only people that suffer economically are the players that should rightly be above him in the salary hierarchy. Of course, a team that misallocates its salary cap funny money may put a substandard product on the ice, which may have an indirect economic effect, but there is no direct economic effect for anybody except the players that that "overpaid" player displaces on the salary ladder.
August 8, 2008 4:32 PM ET | Delete
The players should be concerned about over paid UFA's just as much as over paid RFA's. But you can't get a RFA without over paying. If you don't over pay then there is no point in signing the RFA sheet in the first place. Lowe wanted Vanek, that's why the offer was so big. When he didn't get him, he wanted Penner and took advantage of Burke's stupity in signing Bertuzzi and not leaving enough Cap room to sign his RFA's. Clarke tried to snag Kessler but didn't offer enough to force Van to walk away. Vancouver went after Backes but didn't offer enought, St Louis did the spite thing and offered not enough to get Bernier.This whole RFA thing is getting ridiculous. Look at this Wikipia page and tell me who has been raked over more on RFA's? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NHL_players_who_have_signed_offer_sheets
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