Likely Offer Sheets in 2009

Every year since the lockout when Philly GM Bobby Clarke sent an offer sheet to Vancouver’s Ryan Kessler there has been speculation on who is going to be signed to an offer sheet, which team is going to be forced to overpay for a restricted free agent.

Two years ago we saw Kevin Lowe attempt to sign vanek to a huge 43.6 million dollar 6 year deal (matched by the sabres and ruff was clearly pissed off) and pulled of the dustin penner signing from anaheim (which brian burke repeatedly got pissed off about to the media). This summer we saw Vancouver strike st. louis with an offer sheet to david backes (st. louis matched it) and then st. louis sent one back for steve bernier but after this there was no other activity.
this summer marks the first real possibility off more than one player getting signed succesfully to an offer sheet from one team to another.
At the end of the season there are 3 teams that are under tight cap restrictions and with the possibilty of the cap either only marginally rising or even falling these three teams could have a hard time keeping there RFA’s on their team.
a quick note – this is providing the cap does not move up or down, which many hockey analysts claim is almost guarented to happen. this is also assuming a standard 22 – 23 man team

1. – Tampa Bay – THis summer the new owners forked over loads of money to try and make there team better right away but they may have handicapped themselves in the future.
At the end of the season (barring any trades and any signings of course) the lightning have 43.6 million dollars commited to 14 players. This leaves only 13 million dollars to sign 8 players (providing the cap dosent go up which is very likely), If Lukas Krajicek or Jussi Jokinen get an offer sheet the Lightning might have to let them go if it is any higher than a 3 3 or 4 million.

2. Pittsburgh – WIth the pens signing Malkin, Crosby, Whitney and Fleury to long term extensions as well as having Orpik and Gonchar to multi million dollar deals this team could be hard pressed to keep Staal or Goligolski
The Penguins have 41.3 Million dollars commited to 11 players next season and only have 15.4 million to sign 11 (or 12 ) players. If Staal gets an offer sheet of 4 – 5 million the penguins may be forced to let him go if they want to stay competitive. Sma egoes for goligoski if he gets a 3 or 4 million dollar deal.

3. New York – This team went and overpaid for naslund and redden this summer and may pay for it next summer. The Rangers have Gomez, Drury, Rozisval, Redden and Lundqvist signed to deals worth 4 million or more.
All together the rangers have 40.2 million dollars commited to only 9 players.
This leaves the Rangers only 16.5 million to sign 13 players. Many teams could see this and may attempt to sign Zherdev or Dubinsky of there production stays up to deals worht upwards of 4 or 5 million dollars. THis could speel troublr for the rangers and they would be
forced to let one of them or both of them go.

This summer could be an interesting one for many fans as they may for the first time see the true fear of offer sheets many teams fear.