Several years ago, the Edmonton Oilers organization and GM Kevin Lowe infuriated Darcy Regier by signing Buffalo Sabres forward to an offer sheet in the same summer that the Sabres lost co-captains Danny Briere and Chris Drury – and on the heels of Darcy making the statement that they would match any offer for Thomas Vanek.
Vanek’s offer sheet was the first real major offer sheet signed that made big news, because, well, they were considered poaching, and most GMs didn’t like to use them. Now just a few years later “offer sheet” isn’t sounding much like a dirty word anymore.
Whether the Philadelphia Flyers just don’t care what everyone else thinks of them, they signed Nashville Predators defense men Shea Weber to a monster deal – that could put smaller market Nashville in a bind if they pay it. Nashville is one of those teams that can’t rely on the teams ability to seemingly print dollar bills in the basement of their arena, so they have relied on draft picks and grooming their talent. If Nashville says good bye to Weber – they could position themselves nicely with the bundle of draft picks they would get. The Flyers probably don’t care about the draft picks because when you win, your picking late anyway.
That could be what the Buffalo Sabres are considering as well. Despite making the negative statements about the process in the past – that could have been a smoke screen for Darcy to cover up the fact that we need our draft picks because its the only way to get talent. Now with an owner that wants to spend and isn’t worried about losing money as long as were winning – “offer sheet” might be appearing in the Buffalo papers once again – only this time with the Sabres playing the role of the bad guy.
The Buffalo Sabres could be looking at current Winnipeg Jets left wing Evander Kane. Rumor has it that Kane wants out of Winnipeg an the Jets will probably only sign him to a qualifying offer. For the Jets, the “offer sheet” could be a win win situation, get rid of a guy who doesn’t want to be here, get a few draft picks in return. But where does that leave the Jets? The Jets are not going to want to let Kane get away because they need him. They are still looking for an identity of their own after separating from the Atlanta faithful before last season – yet they don’t have a real thick talent pool of players to build around. If the Sabres made a pitch for Kane, I would anticipate the Jets would thank the Sabres for negotiating a deal for Kane, and match the offer.
If the Sabres are indeed looking at signing an RFA to an offer sheet, it would definitely be a breath of fresh air for the Buffalo faithful, and while the first couple may not work, the Sabres could bring in some talent the hard way if they can’t trade or sign a free agent. If your an organization banking on winning and going deep, you don’t care so much about your first round draft picks, and the Sabres pick smart enough that they will do fine with their second and third rounders.
The available free agent pool is slim, and trades will be costly – RFA may be the way to go for a team that is not a season into their three year plan to win the Stanley Cup. If you were Darcy – what RFA would you be most considering signing to an offer sheet?