Shea Weber

2011 restricted free agent compensation rates may increase offer sheets, but don’t dream about Shea Weber

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Over the years, I’ve honestly been a bit stunned by the rarity of teams going after other clubs’ restricted free agents with offer sheets. Sure, it might cause a little awkwardness between general managers at country clubs and such, but isn’t aggressive improvement worth a little tension?

Of course, the other side of that coin is that signing a player to an offer sheet comes with two more tangible costs: 1) the actual salary and cap-related impact of the contract (as usual) and 2) the draft picks one must give up to compensate the opposing team. Craig Custance of The Sporting News revealed what teams will need to give up to complete offer sheets for the 2011-12 season.

2011 restricted free agent compensation

An offer with a $1,034,249 annual cap hit or less: No compensation

More than $1,034,249 — $1,567,043: Third-round pick

More than $1,567,043 — $3,134,088: Second-round pick

More than $3,134,088 — $4,701,131: First and third-round pick

More than $4,701,131 — $6,268,175: First, second and third-round pick

More than $6,268,175 — $7,835,219: Two first-round picks, a second and third

More than $7,835,219 and higher: Four first-round picks

If you want to compare and contrast the 2011 compensation rates to the rates for 2010 here they are. (H/T to My NHL Trade Rumors.)

2010 Compensation

$1,020,348 or below: No compensation.

$1,020,348 to $1,545,981: A third-round draft choice.

$1,545,981 to $3,091,963: A second round draft choice.

$3,091,963 to $4,637,944: A first-round choice and a third-rounder.

$4,637,944 to $6,183,925: A first- a second- and a third-rounder.

$6,183,925 to $7,729,907: Two First-round choices, a second-rounder and a third-rounder.

Over $7,729,907: Four first-rounders.

As you can see, the changes aren’t particularly dramatic, but this post might be especially relevant to three teams: the Nashville Predators, Los Angeles Kings and Tampa Bay Lightning. That’s because those franchises employ three outright stars who could become restricted free agents on July 1: Shea Weber, Drew Doughty and Steven Stamkos.

Each one of those teams are already allowed to sign those players, so it’s quite possible that none will be susceptible to offer sheets. Custance caught up with Barry Trotz to gather his thoughts on Weber, who might be the most likely to have a tough contract negotiation process. Beyond his bountiful size and skills, Weber might be a bigger headache to re-sign since he’s one year from being eligible for unrestricted free agency and the Predators could have a tighter budget than other NHL teams.

Trotz doesn’t seem too worried about those factors, though.

Predators coach Barry Trotz has some advice to Detroit or anyone else thinking about an offer sheet for Weber.

Don’t bother.

“We’ll just match it,” Trotz told Sporting News. “I can tell you, whatever they offer, it’ll just get matched.”

Even if the Predators will pay any price to keep Weber, an especially devious general manager could drive up Weber’s price a bit to limit Nashville’s options to put a better team around him. Honestly, if I were the GM for Nashville, Los Angeles or Tampa Bay, I would have done whatever possible to follow the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins’ examples* by signing those three players the second it was legal.

Of course, there’s always the possibility that Weber, Doughty and Stamkos wanted a season to increase their value that much more (or maybe the teams wanted to make sure they knew what they were getting before handing them huge deals). Either way, the unrestricted free agent market looks pretty dry this summer, so teams might be a bit more likely to opt for offer sheets. Hopefully we’ll get some fun things to talk about in July, August and beyond.

* – The Capitals and Penguins re-signed key restricted free agents such as Nicklas Backstrom, Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin almost the first day they were allowed.

Latest report leaves Carey Price’s injury timeline fuzzy

Carey Price
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There’s one thing we seem to know about Carey Price‘s injury situation: he first got hurt stepping on a puck on Oct. 29, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

Contrary to earlier reports about him missing about a month, it sounds like his window of recovery is still up in the air (which, to be fair, could mean that he’ll still miss about a month when it’s all said and done).

ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that Price underwent testing with Montreal’s team doctor on Saturday and is expected to go through more; we may not know more about his expected injury timeline until early this coming week.

So, basically, Price’s situation is fuzzier than his mustache right now.

Leg injuries can be tricky anyway, so we shouldn’t be too surprised that there are mixed signals regarding Price, and this may remain a fluid situation for some time.

(But we’ll hopefully know more soon enough.)

Lightning lament life as a .500 team

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The Tampa Bay Lightning have plenty of time to rise above mediocrity, yet it still must be deserving to finish at .500 for two straight months.

After last night’s 3-2 loss to the New York Islanders, that’s exactly where they find themselves:

Record at the end of October: 5-5-2

Record at the end of November: 11-11-3

As of this writing, the Lightning found themselves on the outside looking in at the playoff picture. It all stands as a pretty tough thing for the reigning Eastern Conference champs to swallow.

The uncomfortable-yet-vital question is: can the Lightning break out of this funk?

Looking at their schedule, it won’t be easy, at least not right away.

They crawl through California during a three-game road trip to start December, and they also face six of eight on the road from Dec. 2 – 18.

The Lightning soak up home dates to finish 2015 after that, but what damage will be done by then?

Frankly, the Bolts will need to dig deep to break this pattern. If nothing else, they’ve fought with their backs against the wall before.

Dubinsky won’t change, and he won’t go easy on Crosby


Sometimes a suspension will shame a player, or at least inspire him to change the way he plays.

That apparently won’t happen regarding Brandon Dubinsky‘s one-game timeout session for cross-checking Sidney Crosby.

Dubinsky told Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch that he won’t alter his style, whether it’s against Crosby or someone else.

“Nope,” Dubinsky said. “You know, I’ve played the same way my whole career and I’m not going to change. The next time I have an opportunity to play (Crosby), I’m going to play him hard.”

In case you’re wondering, that next opportunity comes on Dec. 21 in Pittsburgh, assuming that both players are healthy and not suspended.

One can understand Dubinsky’s perspective, although such honesty would be that much more interesting if there’s another incident with Crosby. His initial reaction to the hit was interestingly candid, admitting that his “stick rode up” on his adversary.

Would that stance – which, from a harsher view, might seem flippant to Dubinsky’s critics – open the door for a bigger future bit of a discipline?

Maybe, maybe not … but at least his comments aren’t as inflammatory as what John Tortorella said (at least on the record).

Bad news for Boedker: Coyotes won’t face Sens again in 2015-16


Sorry Mikkel Boedker, you won’t get to face the Ottawa Senators again this season.

OK, it could happen if the speedster is traded from the Arizona Coyotes. He could also face the Senators in the unlikely instance that the two teams fight it out in the 2016 Stanley Cup Final.

Beyond those two possibilities, Saturday night was it, and Boedker must have been licking his chops much like an actual coyote.

For the second straight game, Boedker managed a hat trick against the Senators, helping Arizona beat Ottawa 4-3 last night. His third tally stood as the game-winner in a 4-3 victory.

You can watch all three goals in the video above.

It’s oddly fitting that Boedker has three goals this season … against teams not named the Ottawa Senators.