As we come to the end of another eventful free agency. There are still many restricted free agents on the market such as Marner, Boeser, Laine, and Point. These guys are all important parts of their respective franchises and it will be a punch to the gut if they lose their player. So let’s see what are the most likely destinations for some of the top remaining restricticted free agents.
What is an RFA?
A Restricted Free Agent is someone who has just completed their rookie entry-level contract but does not have enough NHL service under his belt which makes him an RFA.
The Offer Sheet
An offer sheet is when another team negotiates a contract with the restricted free agent and the free agent agrees to the contract. Now, the current team only has 10 days to “match” the same contract before the free agent is officially signed to another team.
An RFA Compensation is when a team lets their restricted free agent go, they get several draft picks in return depending on the salary of the contract.
2017-18 Averaged Salary
Draft Pick Compensation
$1,339,575 and below
$1,339,576 to $2,029,659
$2,029,660 to $4,059,322
$4,059,323 to $6,088,980
First- and third-round pick
$6,088,981 to $8,118,641
First-, second-, and third-round pick
$8,118,642 to $10,148,302
Two first-round picks and a second- and a third-round pick
$10,148,303 and above
Four first-round picks
Mitch Marner, Toronto Maple Leafs
Mitch Marner has been by far the most talked-about RFA this year. He has made headlines on the daily and has been talked about on every sports show you can think of. But while there are many rumors of where Marner could end up, I believe that he will stay in Toronto. Why? Toronto has just traded for David Clarkson and ate up the remainder of his contract and put it on the LTIR( long term injured reserve). This allows the Leafs to spend Clarkson’s contract money on Marner and other free agents they might like. So don’t worry too much Leafs fans because Marner shouldn’t be going anywhere anytime soon.
2. Brock Boeser, Vancouver Canucks
One reason why Boeser will be staying in Vancouver is that he cannot be offered sheeted. He only has two years playing in the league which forces him to sign a contract with his current team. But, the Canucks only have $5 million in cap space remaining and that will not be enough for Boeser who wants a 4 year $7 million contract. This means that the Canucks have to get rid of a contract so they can clear up some cap space. This means that Eriksson, Sutter, or Roussel could be on the move. A scenario that has recently gained some traction is an Eriksson or Kesler swap. Kesler would most likely not play another game and the Canucks just like the Leafs could put him on the LTIR. While the Ducks would get a 30 point scorer in Loui Eriksson.
3. Patrick Laine, Montreal Canadians
This may come as a surprise to many but I genuinely think that the Canadiens will be the one to win the Laine sweepstakes. The Canadians have already offer sheeted Sebastion Aho and they still have the cap space to pull off this transaction. It would make sense giving up the picks as Montreal already is a contending team and most likely won’t be giving up lottery picks. Getting Laine would boost their depth and make them a top 5 team in the league. This would also make sense for the Jets as they just lost out on two key players in Brandon Tanev and Tyler Myers. They will still be a playoff team but they should look toward the future and use the draft picks to select players that will be solid for them down the line.
4. Brayden Point, Tampa Bay Lightning
Brayden Point should be returning to the Lightning without much trouble. 23 year old has made it clear that he wants to be in Tampa as he has already declined an offer sheet from the Canadiens. All Tampa has to do is offer him a reasonable amount of money and he should be back on the Lightning helping them to become a cup contending team.