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2012-13 RFA Compensation Table And Offer Sheets

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Don't bother learning these rules. The upcoming CBA negotiations will wipe these out.
Don't bother learning these rules. The upcoming CBA negotiations will wipe these out.

On Sunday, Chemmy noticed that Damien Cox needed a quick refresher on the NHL's Collective Bargaining Agreement. One aspect that was not clear was what the 2012-13 NHL RFA compensation table would look like after it had been updated. Well, luckily friend of the blog and floating head in draft pictures James Mirtle did the legwork (only a step or two compared to your hurried gait no doubt) and found out where they will be set. For the purposes of proper rosterbation, we should all be sure about how offer sheets work. Only in theory of course because our general manager hates using all of the tools at his disposal.

Editor's Note: Thanks to @JJFromKansas for the inspiration for this post.

To start, here are the compensation ranges:

  • $1,110,249 or below - No Compensation
  • Over $1,110,249 to $1,682,194 - 3rd round pick
  • Over $1,682,194 to $3,364,391 - 2nd round pick
  • Over $3,364,391 to $5,046,585 - 1st round pick, 3rd
  • Over $5,046,585 to $6,728,781 - 1st round pick, 2nd, 3rd
  • Over $6,728,781 To $8,410,976 - Two 1st Round Picks, 2nd, 3rd
  • Over $8,410,976 - Four 1st Round Picks

The RFA system has actually led to some unintended consequences that internet gangster and midget Toronto lawyer Tyler Dellow looked at today. It'll be one more thing Gary Bettman will argue requires changes because of how difficult it makes life for teams' cost certainty.

In terms of the timing and process for offer sheets there are a few things to keep in mind. First off, the player has to sign the offer sheet. You can't just throw it at them. Who can get them? Players that have received a qualifying offer can sign an offer sheet but players that are headed to arbitration cannot. If a player signs an offer sheet then his current team get seven days to match the offer sheet. If they sign the player then they cannot trade him for the entire season.

However, should the club decide to not match, whether because it makes sense to let the player walk or because they aren't emotionally charged GMs of the Buffalo Sabres, then the table above dictates what picks the team would receive. So, if you knew a team run by a dummy like Kevin Lowe and he wants to offer you four first round picks for a player then you'd probably take it. The tricky part is that these picks have to be the team's picks as awarded by the NHL. So if the offering team has traded that pick away, they need to make a weird trade with Calgary (for example's sake) in order to recoup the pick prior to signing the offer sheet.

The final trick was the one that tripped up Damien Cox. While the CBA allows teams to offer unbelievably long contracts in order to reduce a contract's cap hit that loophole is closed when it comes to offer sheets:

10.4 Draft Choice Compensation for Restricted Free Agents

Any Club that is entitled to but does not exercise its Right of First Refusal pursuant to Section 10.3 shall be entitled to obtain Draft Choice Compensation from the New Club. The number and quality of draft choices due to the Prior Club shall be based on the average annual value of the compensation contained in the Principal Terms (as defined in Section 10.3(e) hereof) of the New Club's Offer Sheet (determined by dividing such compensation by the lesser of the number of years of the Offer Sheet or five)

In retrospect, that passage suggests that the NHL had considered the tactic of adding tails to year - they certainly did when regulating how much salary could drop from year-to-year - and decided it only applies to offer sheets. I wonder if Lou Lamoriello brought this up when his team got hosed out of a first rounder.

Anyway, that's a quick overview of offer sheets. Let the speculation run freeeeeeeeee!*

*Note: do not let the speculation run free.