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.

Rangers punch playoff ticket to wrap up night of clinched spots

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The New York Rangers weren’t ecstatic that Chris Tierney‘s 4-4 goal sent their game to overtime against the San Jose Sharks, but either way, getting beyond regulation punched their ticket to the playoffs on Tuesday night.

For the seventh season in a row, the Rangers are in the NHL’s postseason. They fell to the Sharks 5-4 in overtime, so they haven’t locked down the first wild-card spot in the East … yet. It seems like a matter of time, however.

The Rangers have now made the playoffs in 11 of their last 12 tries, a far cry from the barren stretch where the Rangers failed to make the playoffs from 1997-98 through 2003-04 (with the lockout season punctuating the end of that incompetent era).

New York has pivoted from the John Tortorella days to the Vigneault era, and this season has been especially interesting as they reacted to a 2016 first-round loss to the Penguins by instituting a more attacking style. The Metropolitan Division’s greatness has overshadowed, to some extent, how dramatic the improvement has been.

This result seems like a tidy way to discuss Tuesday’s other events.

The drama ends up being low for the Rangers going forward, and while there might be a shortage of life-or-death playoff struggles, the battles for seeding look to be fierce.

Oilers end NHL’s longest playoff drought; Sharks, Ducks also clinch

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There’s something beautiful about the symmetry on Tuesday … unless you’re a Detroit Red Wings fans, maybe.

On the same night that the longest active NHL playoff streak ended at 25 for Detroit, the longest playoff drought concluded when the Edmonton Oilers clinched a postseason spot by beating the Los Angeles Kings 2-1.

The Oilers haven’t reached the playoffs since 2005-06, when Chris Pronger lifted them to Game 7 of the 2006 Stanley Cup Final.

In doing so, other dominoes fell. Both the Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks also punched their tickets to the postseason.

The Sharks, of course, hope to exceed last season’s surprising run to the 2016 Stanley Cup Final.

Meanwhile, the Anaheim Ducks continue their run of strong postseasons, even as their Cup win fades to the background ever so slightly. All three teams are currently vying for the Pacific Division title.

The Western Conference’s eight teams are dangerously close to being locked into place, as the Nashville Predators, Calgary Flames and St. Louis Blues are all close to looking down their spots as well.

Want the East perspective? Check out this summary of Tuesday’s events from the perspective of the other conference.

Craig Anderson took his blunder hard – probably too hard – in Sens loss

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Members of the Ottawa Senators were quick to come to Craig Anderson‘s blunder (see above) in Tuesday’s 3-2 shootout loss to the Philadelphia Flyers, and it’s easy to see why.

It’s not just about his personal struggles, either. When Anderson’s managed to play, he’s been flat-out phenomenal, generating a .927 save percentage that ranks near a Vezina-type level (if he managed to play more than 35 games).

Goaltending has been a huge reason why Ottawa has at least a shot of winning the Atlantic or at least grabbing a round of home-ice advantage, so unlike certain instances where teams shield a goalie’s failures, the defenses are absolutely justified.

Anderson, on the other hand, was very hard on himself.

You have to admire Anderson for taking the blame, even if in very much “hockey player” fashion, he’s not exactly demanding the same sort of credit for his great work this season.

It’s official: Red Wings’ playoff streak ends at 25 seasons

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When we look back at the 2016-17 season for the Detroit Red Wings, it will be remembered for some said endings.

It began without Pavel Datsyuk. We knew that their last game at Joe Louis Arena this season would be their last ever. And now we know that Joe Louis Arena won’t be home to another playoff run.

After 25 straight seasons of making the playoffs – quite often managing deep runs – the Red Wings were officially eliminated on Tuesday night. In getting this far, they enjoyed one of the greatest runs of longevity in NHL history:

Tonight revolves largely around East teams winning and teams clinching bids – the Edmonton Oilers could very well end the league’s longest playoff drought this evening – but this story is more solemn.

EA Sports tweeted out a great infographic:

“Right now it’s hard to talk about it, because you’re a big reason why it’s not continuing,” Henrik Zetterberg said in an NHL.com report absolutely worth your time.

Mike “Doc” Emrick narrated a great look back at Joe Louis Arena here: