There seems to be a bit of confusion and false panic about the restricted free agents the Blackhawks will have this off-season. Well, allow me to quell your worries. The Blackhawks have five key restricted free agents: Kris Versteeg, Dave Bolland, Cam Barker, Troy Brouwer, and Ben Eager.
On July 1st, they will become available on the open market for any team to sign to an offer sheet. However, any team that signs them and the Hawks cannot and/or refuse to match will have to give up draft picks as compensation. Here’s how it breaks down according the NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement:
- Offer Sheet: $660,000 or below — Compensation: None
- $660,000 to $1 Million — Third Round Pick
- Over $1 Million to $2 Million– Second Round Pick
- Over $2 Million to $3 Million — First Round and Third Round Picks
- Over $3 Million to $4 Million — First, Second, and Third Round Picks
- Over $4 to $5 Million — Two Firsts, Second, and Third Round Picks
- Over $5 Million — Four First Round Picks
Now can everyone breathe a little easier?
Even though, the Hockey News claims Versteeg may be one of the few players to receive an offer sheet, I’m just not buying it.
As you can tell, any team willing to sign Kris Versteeg to an offer sheet, that the Hawks can’t realistically match, will have to give up some high draft picks. In this economy, I’m having a hard time imagining any team giving up draft picks to sign someone like Versteeg. It’s just not going to happen. So Versteeg, Bolland, and Barker will all return and all at reasonable contracts.
I’m not sure the same can be said for Ben Eager or Troy Brouwer. Eager may have played his way out of town in the last two games of the Detroit series with his antics. He tried to incite a riot in Game 4 and in the process, looked like a bozo. In Game 5, he was responsible for a too many men penalty and received a 10 minute misconduct for mouthing off to officials.
Troy Brouwer is a big, physical winger with no scoring touch. The Blackhawks have a small village of players like that in Rockford. No need to pay for Brouwer if you have a bunch of Brouwer Clones.
Just a quick random pointless note about restricted free agents: looking into next off-season, with Kane, Toews, and Keith coming up as restricted free agents, the rules are a little different. I could definitely see teams offering the $5 million+. With that being said, no amount of draft picks are worth losing Kane and Toews for, but four first round picks for Duncan Keith, now that’s something I’d be willing to discuss. Alas, this is all very far away, but I thought it was interesting to think about.
One team I will be keeping a close eye on this summer is the Edmonton Oilers. They have a boat load of lousy contracts and two youngsters who may become expendable due to their bad decisions in Sam Gagner and Andrew Cogliano. As of now, there is no way they can sign both of them. Either of those guys would look lovely in the Indian Head. I’m just saying.