As key RFAs like Mat Barzal, Ryan Pulock, and others remain unsigned, rumors begin to swirl about offer sheets. A very bad rumormongering site, I’m not linking to it, said the Rangers were going to offer sheet Mat Barzal. It was good for a laugh. But let’s make one thing clear, the NY Rangers will not be signing offer sheets this offseason.
Draft Pick Compensation
Everyone loves an offer sheet until we talk about draft pick compensation. The easiest way to show the Rangers aren’t going to be involved is by showing what they’d have to give up in an offer sheet. Remember, the Rangers traded next year’s 2nd round pick to get rid of Marc Staal’s contract.
Without their second round pick, the Rangers are left with very few options. They can offer sheet someone for only three ranges:
- Up to $1.4 million, which is no compensation required
- $1.4 million to $2.1 million, which costs a 3rd round pick
- $4.3 million to $6.5 million, which costs 1st and 3rd round picks
- $10.9 million or more, which costs four 1st round picks
If we assume the Rangers aren’t going to bother with the first two options, then they are limited to the last two. Let’s also assume there will be a fan uproar if the Rangers give up four first round picks. That leaves us in the $4.3 million to $6.5 million range.
Based on Evolving-Hockey’s contract projections, only Mikhail Sergachev, Ryan Pulock, and Anthony Cirelli fit into that range and are worth the money. Both Tampa and the Isles will immediately match unless you drastically overpay.
Following the Staal trade, the Rangers can’t drastically overpay without getting into that four 1st round pick compensation range. They, of course, can be creative with the contract. It does open more options, but it still isn’t happening.
Offer sheet cap space is a little tricky, as it’s not just the AAV of the contract. It’s the AAV of the full contract amount over five years. Using Barzal as the example, if the Rangers sign him to seven years at $8 million a season (he won’t sign that), then the cap space is only $8 million. But the cap hit for offer sheet purposes is $56 million over 5 years, which is $11.2 million, costing the four 1st round picks.
This actually opens up options for the Rangers, but not many. If anything, it puts them at a bigger risk for long term contracts at a much higher dollar amount than they want. Seven years is a long commitment, and the Rangers already have three players signed to long term deals like that.
In addition, the Rangers simply don’t have cap space at the moment. They’d have to trade Brendan Smith and at least one other big contract to make the space for a deal like this. Doable? Sure. Likely? No. It’s safe to assume the NY Rangers will not be in the offer sheet game this offseason.