New York Rangers extending an offer sheet to any high profile RFA improbable

It’s almost like some sort of offseason ritual, but a number of questions come up on the possibility of offer sheeting some high profile RFA. Last season, I wrote at least a piece or two about a Mathew Barzal offer sheet based on some intel I received. He ended up staying put on Long Island, and I tended to the egg on my face.

This summer’s RFA Du Jour is Elias Pettersson of the Vancouver Canucks.

Elias Pettersson likely to sign a bridge deal

Elias Pettersson is represented by agent, JP Barry who recently discussed his client’s offseason out look as an RFA. “There’s been multiple talks (with the Canucks),” Barry said on CHEK TV. “we’ll have to keep going for a little while here. But we definitely are engaged, and hopefully, we can make some progress.”

The issue is Vancouver’s salary cap situation which Barry called out. That will make it very hard to do a long term deal. Maybe for one, but unlikely for both. All things considered, bridge deals are the way GM Jim Benning will have to go this summer.

“We’re going to look at everything, but I think anything for Pettersson will be five or under, and then we have to look at with Quinn whether or not we can do a little more or not,” Barry explained. “We’ll probably explore some of that, but that’s where we are right now.”

Rangers not going to offer sheet anyone

elias pettersson
Mar 1, 2021; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Vancouver Canucks center Elias Pettersson (40) warms up prior to a game against the Winnipeg Jets at Bell MTS Place. Mandatory Credit: James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports

I get the idea of signing a young center like Pettersson. It makes sense, especially with the news that Jack Eichel no longer appears to be in the Rangers plans. However, Chris Drury, who is a rookie NHL GM isn’t going to make his first big moment trying to take advantage of another team’s cap issue and steal a young star.

Good luck trying to make any trades after that. Just ask 1994 Cup winning GM Neil Smith about that. He paid the price for offer-sheeting Joe Sakic years ago. After receiving a fax back from the Avalanche of the middle finger when they matched, he admitted that many teams didn’t like the move. It was so bad that when ownership asked him to do it again with Paul Kariya he told them to “fire me.”

That’s just the high level reasons for not offer-sheeting Pettersson, besides the fact that you are only doing the other GM’s job for him. The Canucks will match any offer – so let it go.

Also remember that the Rangers have two key RFA’s to sign themselves in Pavel Buchnevich and Igor Shesterkin. Add on top of that the news from Elliotte Friedman that the Rangers want to negotiate a long term deal with Adam Fox, They also need to prepare to sign Mika Zibanejad too.

That’s why any big money move the Blueshirts make this summer will need to be money-in and money-out type deals. For example, in order to accommodate Jack Eichel’s $10 million cap hit, Drury has to send at least Ryan Strome’s $5 million back the other way, and make a hard decision on Pavel Buchnevich.

Now imagine offer-sheeting a player like Pettersson for $8 million a season for the next seven years. The compensation is only going to cost you draft picks. So now you are forced to move money out, and possibly for nothing in return.

Do you think other GM’s don’t realize you just caused a cap problem for yourself? That’s why Drury will play it smart and safe. No offer sheets – I can almost guarantee it.

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