How does Restricted Free Agency(RFA) work?

I always hear commentators and Leaf fans saying on this site about how the Leafs should look into Restricted Free Agency as well into somehow acquiring more young talent. I have heard a little since the lockout had ended about the new CBA and restricted free agency, but I still do not understand the full meaning of the rules about restricted free agency.

What I basically know is once a player(Under the age of 27, I believe) contract runs out, the player needs to find a new contract. Other teams can pursue the player and offer him contracts, but the original team in question can still match it. If the original team does not match the offer sheet, the player will go to his new team. But, the original team gets compensated with draft picks(low or high) by the new team for taking one of their younger players or RFA.

Hopefully everyone understood that, but I want to know what is the compensation by the new team to the old team. So what decides the number of draft picks for the player in return?

I understand that Edmonton gave up a First, Second and Third rounder to get Dustin Penner from the Anaheim Ducks. When the Edmonton Oilers gave Penner that contract, how was it decided that the Oilers lose those picks?

I’m just asking this question because tonight during the Montreal/Toronto game on THE SATELITE HOTSTOVE, the commentators from CBC were once again talking about their favorite subject in hockey, the Toronto Maple Leafs and their problems. Woohoo, they just cannot let this topic die.

Anyways, one of the commentators mentioned about how instead of looking into UFA’s, The Toronto Maple Leafs should look at RFA’s. Also, he mentioned the Leafs should not look into players like Jeff Carter and Corey Perry, but maybe the Leafs should look into Daniel Paille, a young, 19 goal scorer in Buffalo this season(Wow, everyone likes to hurt Buffalo). The commentator said maybe try and sign Paille to a 2.2 million dollar contract and give up a secound rounder(And I guess notva first round pick if they attempted to get Perry or Carter, also not as expensive to get more young talent).

This is what I am confused, I thought any team taht acquired a RFA would have to give up a first rounder? So I lost my whole understanding of RFA when one of the guys said that Toronto would only lose a second if they got Paille at 2.2 million.

So how and what are the rules of Restriced Free Agency?

If it is to hard to explain, can anyone give me a link to a sight that can help me?

And, I like the thought of Paille for a secound rounder at 2.2 million, any comments on that.

Thanks for any help


31 Responses to How does Restricted Free Agency(RFA) work?

  1. KingCanada says:

    The compensation has everything to do with the amount of money the contract is worth per season.

    773 000$ per season and less there is NO COMPENSATION
    773 000 – 1 172 000$ 3RD ROUND PICK
    1 172 000 – 2 344 000$ 2ND ROUND PICK
    2 344 000 – 3 516 000$ 1ST ROUND PICK and 3RD ROUND PICK
    3 516 000 – 4 688 000$ 1ST ROUND PICK, 2ND ROUND PICK and 3RD ROUND PICK
    4 688 000 – 5 859 000$ TWO 1ST ROUND PICKS, 2ND ROUND PICK and 3RD ROUND PICK
    5 859 000$ + FOUR 1ST ROUND PICKS

    Dustin Penners contract is for 4.25 which fits under the 5th level and thats a 1st, 2nd 3rd.

    If Buffalo wouldnt of matched Edmontons contract to sign Tomas Vanek (7.143) they would have received 4 first round picks.

    I believe a few seasons ago Bobby Clarke signed Kesler to a 2 year 1.9 offer sheet.  If Vancouver would not have matched they would have received only a 2nd rounder.  Paille would be in that same category.

    So it seems that it costs quite alot to make an offer sheet to a superstar because you will pay for it greatly in the future.  If i was Buffalo i dont think i would have matched, i mean to have 2 first round picks for the next 4 years is huge.  With all this said the guys on hotstove are right, it is very affordable to go for players in the low 2 millions since you only give up a second rounder.

  2. KingCanada says:

    OH and i forgot to mention.  A team may only make an offer sheet if they have the draft picks to compensate.  And they may only use their own picks, cannot use picks from another team.

    So if the leafs dont have their own 2nd round pick this year then they couldnt make an offer sheet of 2.2 million to Paille since they wouldnt be able to compensate if Buffalo was unwilling to match.  They would have to change the amount of money on the contract, maybe to more money to fit in the 1st and 3rd pick draft pick bracket.

  3. KingCanada says:

    If the leafs do plan on giving up a 2nd round pick and offering up to 2.3 million per season then the players they should go after i believe are :

    Dan Paille
    Martin Erat
    Marek Svatos
    RJ Umberger
    Patrick O'Sullivan
    Joe Pavelski
    Wojtek Wolski
    Rotislav Olesz
    Valteri Filppula
    Loui Eriksson
    Andrei Kostitsyn
    Ryan Clowe
    Nigel Dawes

    Some will require more money, some less but IMO these are the players to be had that wont end up costing TOO much draft picks.  I also failed to mention any defencemen or goaltenders since the leafs are already full there.

  4. jonnygf40 says:

    How about:

    Andrew Ladd
    Tuomo Ruutu
    Patrick Eaves
    Jarret Stoll
    Matt Stajan
    Kyle Wellwood
    Paul Gaustad
    All would be had for around $2.3 million, as a Canucks fan I'd take any of 'em for $2 million.
  5. mtlman2005 says:

    Especially considering that it would have been Edmonton's picks. That would have gotten you a better shot at Tavares. Even with Vanek, Edmonton wouldn't have been great. Buffalo should have let him go, but considering Briere Drury and Zubrus had already left, it's kinda hard!

  6. LeafsNation91 says:

    I like the option of restricted free agency for the Leafs then.

    I would not like it though if they were going to give up a first rounder in the process. We need our draft picks for the next little while.

    I like Daniel Paille though, offer him a contract and only give up a second rounder for a young talented player. Scored 19 goals this season at the young age of 23.

    Question though, the Maple Leafs do not have their second rounder in this years draft, so can they use Pittsburg's second rounder that they have for compensation if they go this route. The only thing is I do not agree with sacrificing a first.

  7. LuoungoisGod121 says:

    Uhmm Kostisyn is probably gonna need more then 2.3 million.

    And Umberger needs to come back to Canucks.

    And Olesz will sign.

  8. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    basically stupid GM’s go after a player, and hope the other GM will smartly let the player go and accept the rediculasly overpaid compensation.

    As bad as penner was for the oilers, imagibe what vanek would have done. set that franchise back 5 years

  9. KingCanada says:

    Wellwood and Stajan already belong to us so we dont need to put up an offer sheet…lol unless ur thinking frmo another teams perspective of course.  Stoll was being thrown around as trade bait already so i dont think hes worth the money.  Eaves was part of a big trade for Carolina, im sure he will be locked up soon.  Ladd and Ruutu have both not lived up to their potential so i dont think there worth the risk

    So yea if anyone wants to sign Wellwood id be more then happy to see him go but maybe for more then a 2nd round pick hopefully.  Stajan will be the next to be signed, i highly doubt he will be a RFA by july 1st

  10. KingCanada says:

    No they cant, read my second comment, you need your own pick, not someone else's.

  11. KingCanada says:

    Leafs will NOT throw out offer sheets, we dont have our 2nd round pick, next step is giving up their 1st and 3rd and thats not going to happen

  12. LeafsNation91 says:

    But the Leafs did acquire a secon rounder in this year's draft from the Pittsburg Penguins. Can't we use that pick as compensation in an offer sheet. I am not willing to trade away another first rounder for nothing, I do not care if it is Corey Perry, Kotsitsyn or not.

    The Leafs need the first rounder.

    But can't they use Pittsburgs to get a Daniel Paille or Marek Svatos or whatever…

  13. LeafsNation91 says:

    But the Leafs did acquire a secon rounder in this year's draft from the Pittsburg Penguins. Can't we use that pick as compensation in an offer sheet. I am not willing to trade away another first rounder for nothing, I do not care if it is Corey Perry, Kotsitsyn or not.

    The Leafs need the first rounder.

    But can't they use Pittsburgs to get a Daniel Paille or Marek Svatos or whatever…

  14. LeafsNation91 says:

    Why not also offer a 1 million offer to Andrew Ladd as well.

    Ladd, though not performing as 4th overall pick yet, seems to be a good young prospect that Carolina and maybe Chicago have given hope on.

    At the young age of 23, Ladd has 14 goals and 16 assists this season, not good, but he is getting better numbers then last year, meaning the guy is improving every season that he is playing in the NHL. And since the Leafs have their third rounder, and Floirda's, they could be willing to go after Ladd for maybe one million.

    Their will be no difference between Floirda's third rounder and the Leafs.

    I'm not saying this well happen, but if they did spend 3-mill on two players and lose a third and second, while having a third and first still, is not completely horrible.

    The Leafs would get two good young players.

    Wait, Is their a limit on RFA's as well. Meaning, is their a limit on how many RFA's a team can acquire. If they have the pick.

  15. LeafsNation91 says:

    Why not also offer a 1 million offer to Andrew Ladd as well.

    Ladd, though not performing as 4th overall pick yet, seems to be a good young prospect that Carolina and maybe Chicago have given hope on.

    At the young age of 23, Ladd has 14 goals and 16 assists this season, not good, but he is getting better numbers then last year, meaning the guy is improving every season that he is playing in the NHL. And since the Leafs have their third rounder, and Floirda's, they could be willing to go after Ladd for maybe one million.

    Their will be no difference between Floirda's third rounder and the Leafs.

    I'm not saying this well happen, but if they did spend 3-mill on two players and lose a third and second, while having a third and first still, is not completely horrible.

    The Leafs would get two good young players.

    Wait, Is their a limit on RFA's as well. Meaning, is their a limit on how many RFA's a team can acquire. If they have the pick.

  16. LuoungoisGod121 says:

    But  Edmonton won't finish anywhere near the bottom five this season so does this move not make Kevin Lowe look less like an idiot now?

    And Penner has put together a pretty decent season in Edmonton.

  17. mojo19 says:

    Good looking list. Here's who I think could be possible there:

    Paille – Ya maybe Buffalo will let him go if they don't feel he's worth the money, they're a stingey franchise

    Erat – Nashville new ownership, during the sale had to let Forsberg, Kariya, Vokoun go last summer, I think they'll do what they can to keep Marty

    Svatos – Interesting, depending on how Colorado goes about free agency and what kind of cap space they have left after July 2nd or 3rd, Svatos could be had, possibly.

    RJ – hmm……maybe, I have no idea here. Philly could go either way

    Patty O' – No chance. LA will match any offer, they need to rebuild sooner rather than later and O'Sullivan has been hot since the All-Star break. They won't be interested in draft pick comensation for this guy (unfortuneately)

    Pavelski – don't know… what is he a shark?

    Wolski – Same deal as Svatos but a slightly lesser player, therefore a slightly more attainable player. Though I don't hink he's great he could be a good pick up.

    The rest of those guys i dont really care, I'd take a run at Fillipula i guess.

  18. mojo19 says:

    I'm with you. I think in most cases the advantage goes to the team who owns the player and not the team making the offer. I hope someone offers Welly close to $3 million and we get some good compensation for him and he busts playing more like he did this year and less like he did last year.

    I like Wellwood, he's such a talented guy, but he's also a little soft butter ball.

  19. mojo19 says:

    Chicago won't let Ladd go. Their assistant GM (Rick Dudley??) was interviewed on the fan590 the other day and he was talking about how happy they were to land Ladd at the deadline, and how well they think he played in the playoffs during the Canes cup run a couple years ago and how great they think he can be. So don't get your hopes up about Ladd. Sorry.

  20. Rysto says:

    No.  You must give up your own picks in compensation.  If you don't have those picks, you can't make the offer to the RFA.

    However, keep in mind that the compensation for signing an RFA this summer will be picks in the 2009 draft because the 2008 draft will have already happened by the time free agency period starts.

  21. KingCanada says:

    good point, i didnt think of that, next years draft picks not this years…

  22. KingCanada says:

    I dont think you understand how business works…  If a RFA on your team was given an offer sheet and u only had to pay 1 million to keep him wouldnt you do it??

    Nobody will steal a RFA from a team at 1 million unless they werent even planning on qualifying him in the first place.  Chicago gave up Ruutu for him, there keeping him if its only for 1 million…

  23. LeafsNation91 says:

    I never said were going or getting Ladd, I said it would be nice. I'm just throwing out some names that Toronto should potentionally go after.

  24. mojo19 says:

    True. Ladd would be dirty.

    I think they should target UFA Demitra then next summer when Gaborik is unrestricted we should make a push for him

  25. LeafsNation91 says:

    Why not just save up for Gaborik?

    Demitra is aging and injury prone, the last thing the Leafs need.

  26. LeafsNation91 says:

    Why not just save up for Gaborik?

    Demitra is aging and injury prone, the last thing the Leafs need.

  27. prayin-for-the-wce says:

    The amount and quality of picks a team receives for draft pick compensation is dependent on the amount of money per year a player is offered.  This is all of course in relation to the salary cap for the corresponding year.  Ryan keslars compensation when philly offered him his 1.9 million contract was a 2nd round pick, however that has raised due to the cap and is stated in the above post at 773 000$ per season and less there is NO COMPENSATION
    773 000 – 1 172 000$ 3RD ROUND PICK
    1 172 000 – 2 344 000$ 2ND ROUND PICK
    2 344 000 – 3 516 000$ 1ST ROUND PICK and 3RD ROUND PICK
    3 516 000 – 4 688 000$ 1ST ROUND PICK, 2ND ROUND PICK and 3RD ROUND PICK
    4 688 000 – 5 859 000$ TWO 1ST ROUND PICKS, 2ND ROUND PICK and 3RD ROUND PICK
    5 859 000$ + FOUR 1ST ROUND PICKS
    as the salary continues to go up, the compensation will rise with that amount of salary that is offered.
    I hope that helps

  28. prayin-for-the-wce says:

    I meant to say that the compensation rises in correlation with the salary cap and the amount offered to the said rfa

  29. A-Train24 says:

    People seem to forget that not only will you have to give up compensation, but you have to significantly overpay for a RFA.

    Taking the example of Kostitsyn.  He will likely end the season with 25 goals, 55 points.  Those stats, and his age, warrant a very decent deal, at least 2.5-3.5 million for 3+ years.  In order to acquire him as an RFA, you will need to offer a contract that Montreal refuses to match, driving the price up to 4-5.5 miliion a season, and thereby driving up the compensation that needs to be paid.

    In the case of Dan Paille, he is likely to warrant a contract worth approx 1.5-2 million a season.  To get him, the Leafs would have to overpay him enough to get him out of Buffalo's price range, say 2.5-3.5 million, once again, dragging up the compensation.

    RFA's are usually not worth the trouble as it would be more practicle to trade draft picks and/or players for coveted RFAs rather then give up compensation and then have to overpay.

  30. AHLoldie says:

    I don't want to burst anyone's bubble but the word on the street is that there are currently 17 small market owners who are ready for another lockout.  The salaries have gotten out of hand again.  Ovechkin's was the beginning.  Malkin will be seeking the same kind of money.  I wrote once before that the European players pretty much caused the first lockout, and it looks like they'll cause the next one.  Hossa will want well over 8.5 to 9 Mil.  Again, these guys will go back home if the money is not there.  The loyalty is a thing of the past.  Malkin will be the big test.  He can't make more than Crosby, who locked in at 8.7 Mil. over a long term.  He is playing on incentives.  If these guys want to make the big money, they have to earn it.  Limit the guaranteed contracts and attach the bonus clauses.

  31. mojo19 says:

    Because they're good friends. Having Demitra on the team would attract Gaborik who pushed for the Wild to trade for him at the draft a couple years ago, which they did.

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