Though we see some big name players enter free agency each summer as restricted free agents, we rarely see the offer sheet utilized. That’s part of the reason that the offer sheet between Shea Weber and the Philadelphia Flyers was such a big surprise a few weeks ago.
Not only do teams have reservations about surrendering potential draft picks if a team elects not to match the offer sheet, which would have totaled four first rounders in the case of Weber and the Flyers, they’re also worried about potential retaliation from other teams around the league.
With the injury to Andrej Meszaros, the talk of the Flyers potentially exploring the offer sheet angle has once again emerged intensely, with P.K. Subban as a potential target this time. While it very well may be the best route for the Flyers as far as their personnel goes, they may want to look before they leap into another offer sheet situation.
The Habs will very likely match any offer for Subban, unless the Flyers throw an outlandish amount of money at him. So as Mark Donatiello has already pointed out, there’s the potential embarrassment from failing on multiple fronts with big name free agents.
But the far bigger concern for the Flyers could be that threat of retaliation from opposing teams when it’s time for the Flyers to deal with their own restricted free agents. The potential was there for a team to make a run at Jakub Voracek before he was re-signed, but the Flyers concerns could be far larger if they manage to irritate some other clubs with this offer sheet business.
Claude Giroux is a free agent after next season. As it stands right now, the Flyers are very likely going to have a new contract for him signed, sealed, and delivered about as close to July 1st, 2013 as they possibly can, when teams can officially sign free-agents-to-be to contract extensions.
But what if the Flyers end up offer sheeting Subban and Claude Giroux ends up hitting the market as a restricted free agent? It may not be the Montreal Canadiens, but another team out there could take exception to the Flyers’ actions and sign Giroux to a mega offer sheet.
Is this something that should keep the Flyers from offer sheeting P.K. Subban? Probably not. He might be the best course of action for the Flyers at this point. But as they move forward, it’s certainly something that they should keep in the back of their heads in dealing with restricted free agents.