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.

Crouse brings the ‘total package’ of size, skill and speed to Coyotes

FT. LAUDERDALE, FL - JUNE 25: Lawson Crouse attends the Top Prospects Media Opportunity at the Westin Ft. Lauderdale Beach Resort on June 25, 2015 in Sunrise, Florida.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Lawson Crouse has joined a talented group of young forwards in Arizona, after the Coyotes acquired the 2015 first-round pick from the Florida Panthers on Thursday.

The Coyotes had to take on the contract of injured forward Dave Bolland, but in their minds, it was worth it to get a player like Crouse, who certainly brings size up front at six-foot-four-inches tall and 212 pounds. He had 23 goals and 62 points in 49 games this season with Kingston in the OHL.

“He’s a unique guy because usually when you add a guy with the type of size he has you usually give up a little bit in skating or you give up a little bit in skill,” said general manager John Chayka, as per the Coyotes website.

“He’s a guy that you add the size and he actually enhances that for your entire group. In our opinion, it was a guy that’s rare to find, difficult to obtain. Certainly, once they become established in the league, those players are locked up well into their 30s and then you end up trying to maybe overpay for a player that has these attributes that’s not in the prime of his career.”

Crouse, who turned 19 years old in June, now joins the likes of Max Domi, Dylan Strome and Anthony Duclair as part of Arizona’s group of up-and-coming young forwards. He has familiarity with all three from playing in the OHL or for Team Canada at the world juniors.

“He can fly. He’s fast and he hits and he scores goals. You kinda get the total package,” Strome told Sportsnet.

The Las Vegas Desert Knights? Maybe . . .

LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 22:  New Las Vegas NHL franchise owner Bill Foley addresses the media during the Board Of Governors Press Conference prior to the 2016 NHL Awards at Encore Las Vegas on June 22, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The NHL's board of governors approved expanding to Las Vegas, making the franchise the 31st team in the league. The team will start play during the 2017-18 season and play at the newly built T-Mobile Arena.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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There’s been another possible development in the search for a team name for the Las Vegas NHL franchise.

The Las Vegas ‘Desert Knights’ could perhaps be a thing.

Maybe.

From the Las Vegas Review-Journal:

Last week domain names were registered that might be an indicator that the NHL team scheduled to begin play in 2017 could be called the Las Vegas Desert Knights.

Last week the domains lasvegasdesertknights.com, vegasdesertknights.com and desertknightshockey.com were privately registered to Moniker Privacy Services, which is the same company that procured the domain name to NHL.com.

DetroitHockey.net first reported the new domain name Thursday morning.

Foley said via text message he had no comment regarding the process when reached by the Review-Journal.

As the Las Vegas franchise continues to hire key members for its hockey operations department, there is growing intrigue when it comes to the search for a new name.

What will this new franchise be called?

The wait continues, and there has been a lot of space dedicated to speculating and discussing the possibilities.

It’s been reported that the expansion franchise could use one of at least three ‘Hawks’-orientated names. Owner Bill Foley also said this summer that Las Vegas can’t use a ‘Knights’ nickname is Canada, because London’s OHL franchise was also named the Knights.

Stay tuned . . .

Las Vegas hires former Panthers director of player personnel Scott Luce

ST PAUL, MN - JUNE 24:  Director of scouting Scott Luce of the Florida Panthers smiles before day one of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft at Xcel Energy Center on June 24, 2011 in St Paul, Minnesota.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Scott Luce has gone from the Florida Panthers to the Las Vegas expansion franchise.

The new NHL organization — still searching for a team name — announced Thursday that it has hired Luce as its new director of amateur scouting.

Luce spent the last 14 years in Florida, as a scout and as director of player personnel.

Luce was let go earlier in the offseason, as the Panthers underwent massive change within their front office, with the promotion of Dale Tallon to president of hockey operations and Tom Rowe to GM, and more attention to analytics.

Report: Avalanche bring Rene Bourque in for a PTO

NEWARK, NJ - OCTOBER 27: Rene Bourque #18 of the Columbus Blue Jackets skates against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on October 27, 2015 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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After announcing the hiring of Jared Bednar as their next head coach, the Colorado Avalanche have brought in forward Rene Bourque on a professional tryout, according to James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail.

Bourque became an unrestricted free agent at the beginning of July, after his six-year contract worth a total value of $20 million expired. The annual cap hit on his previous deal was $3.333 million.

He spent last season with the Columbus Blue Jackets, scoring three goals and eight points in 49 games. He was placed on waivers at the end of February.

During the 2014-15 campaign, he spent time with the Montreal Canadiens, Anaheim Ducks and the Blue Jackets, before a back injury sidelined him for the remainder of that season.