Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Ryan Carter May As Well Represent Himself

One thing that I've found very curious since the new Collective Bargaining Agreement was signed is the utter lack of RFA offer sheets, especially for cheaper talent. One of the first posts on this blog addressed this issue. My opinion is that there is no way an NHL player should be playing for less than about $850,000. For that amount or less, no compensation needs to be given for an RFA offer sheet. Up to $850,000 these guys are essentially unrestricted free agents. This gives teams a great opportunity to steal young depth from opponents yet to this point none of these offer sheets have been publicized. Are they happening? I don't know for sure but deals like Ryan Carter's ($625,000 over three years with Anaheim last summer) and Marcel Goc's ($775,000 over one year with San Jose last summer) suggest to me that these offers are probably not being made. These kinds of offer sheets make a tremendous amount of sense for any team. Either you're able to add depth to your roster and take it away from an opponent or you force your opponent to spend more cap space than they would otherwise like. Especially for a cap team, this is a great way to get ahead and/or improve your minor league team (I feel kind of like an infomercial...). If there are more players on one-way deals than there are spots at camp, suddenly camp becomes a competitive environment. If the player clears waivers on the way down, then the minor league team is much improved. If the player gets claimed, then you save the money. It's actually baffling to me that this kind of offer sheet doesn't happen more often.

So who might the Oilers target with this kind of deal?

Brett Festerling was third among Anaheim dmen in Quality of Competition and had a faceoff differential of +4 (second among dmen). Festerling is about 6'1 and 200 lbs. but only took 18 PIMs in his 40 regular season games (although in the AHL his numbers are closer to 1 PIM per game) and so probably shouldn't be described as a "physical" defenceman. Nonetheless, the early returns are quite good considering he hasn't really been sheltered. He managed a +4 at EV this year, which was his 22 y/o season. If the Oilers are looking at saving some money replacing a 2.7M Steve Staios with 0.85M Brett Festerling would be a great start.

Marc Methot was fifth among Columbus dmen in Quality of Competition and had a faceoff differential of -15 (fourth among dmen). He's a big guy at 6'3 and 224 lbs. and managed a +6 at EV this season. He was definitely sheltered a bit more than Festerling but if Tambellini wants to add some size and toughness, Methot would bring some definite jam on the backend. He just finished his 23 y/o season and still has room to grow.

Are either of these two better than Theo Peckham? It's hard to say at this point to be honest but if all three came to camp battling for one spot and they were all making under 1M I know I'd be much happier with the depth on defence. Is it realistic to think Anaheim and/or Columbus would give one of these guys up for nothing? I don't really know but is there anything to lose by finding out?

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