Warning: this post is a rant. If you don’t like sarcasm or me being somewhat arrogant, then don’t read it.
Well, it’s July 13, and Steven Stamkos hasn’t been signed by the Tampa Bay Lightning. This really isn’t anything surprising. Stamkos is a star, and he expects to be paid like a star. However, he is a RFA, and has little leverage. He doesn’t even have arbitration rights. But yet, there has been no offer sheet, no trade, and no signing. Every single hockey blog has asked why their team hasn’t presented Stamkos with an offer sheet or traded for him. (If you want to skip to the part where I discuss the Rangers, it’s after the jump.)
Well, I can answer both for you. I’ll start with the latter. He isn’t being traded. Period. End of story. Don’t bother with the “what-ifs” until December, when it’s a “sign him or he can’t play for the year” scenario.
Now, why hasn’t he been offer sheeted, like some in the media think he should be? Well, let’s start with the basics: It’s poor form and poor relationship management to offer sheet a team’s star player.
But Dave, why do relationships with other teams matter?
Well Jimmy, it’s because if you have poor relationships with other teams, good luck trying to trade with them. Yes, that was an R-Truth reference.
Anyway, more reasons why Stamkos hasn’t been presented an offer sheet: It would have to be a ridiculous sum of money to both a) sign him and b) not have Steve Yzerman match the offer. I’m talking a max contract until Stamkos is 50. Ok, maybe not 50, but probably until he’s 27 (five years). That’s $12 million a season. That’s Marc Staal’s AND Marian Gaborik’s contracts combined!
A third reason: Compensation. Not many teams are willing to hamstring their cap (see point above) AND give up four first round picks in the process. An offer sheet for Stamkos would actually be counter productive. It kills your farm system and your cap. People complain about the Rangers having $12 million tied up in Player X and Player Y….but Stamkos’ contract would be a combination of the two.
These are very obvious reasons as to why he hasn’t been presented with an offer sheet, but yet a ton of people STILL think he should be. Lesson number one: Just because it was published doesn’t mean it’s a) accurate, b) thought out, or c) all of the above. Just because a team needs to hit the cap floor doesn’t mean they are going to destroy their future cap situation by signing Stamkos to an absurd contract.
Let’s also factor in that the Islanders, who hemorrhage more money than desperate fat guys at a strip club, are not operating on a cap that is dictated by the NHL. They are operating on a cap that is dictated by Charles Wang. That internal cap is likely right at the current salary cap floor, or possibly even below it. Would it shock anyone if the Islanders didn’t hit the cap floor? Maybe saving that $10 million is more important to Wang than the mid-round draft pick penalty it will cost to get to the floor*.
*-No one knows what the penalty for this is yet. I am guessing it won’t be extreme.
Now, how does this apply to the Rangers, and why didn’t Slats present Stamkos with an offer sheet? Well, Glen Sather has publicly stated that he does not believe in offer sheets. Well, so much for that question, but let’s go into this more, and say Slats did believe in offer sheets.
Let’s play the game where the Rangers gave Stamkos the contract that they gave Richards. There are a ton of assumptions made here. First, what makes you think Stamkos would accept that deal? Second, there is absolutely no way that Yzerman does not match the offer. A $6.67 million cap hit for Steven Freaking Stamkos? He probably buys Slats dinner for presenting him with an offer like that.
Oh, and one final point about the compensation. There have been discussions that the Rangers presenting Stamkos with a Richards type contract means that the compensation is less than the four first round picks (in this case: two firsts, a second, and a third). This is simply not true. Compensation is based on the average value of the deal over the first five years of the deal ($12 million), which means that the Rangers would still be giving up those four first round picks.
Four first round picks, and a $12 million cap hit for Steven Stamkos. If there were no salary cap, then sure. However, having 20% of the cap tied up in one player is irresponsible management of a franchise. THAT is why no one has presented Stamkos with an offer sheet.
Can we put this silly rumor to bed now?