RFA's. Are they ever worth it?

A lot of people think that making offers for RFA’s is a great potential way to grab a good young player and immediately improve your team. But the problem is that the compensation is so heavily favoured for the team who holds the rights to the player.

Here are some of this summers higher end RFA’s, tell me if you would tender them an offer:Compensation works like this:

$773,442 or below None
Over $773,442 to $1,171,882 Third-round choice
Over $1,171,882 to $2,343,765 Second-round choice
Over $2,343,765 to $3,515,647 First-round and third-round choice
Over $3,515,647 to $4,687,530 First-round, second-round and third-round choice
Over $4,687,530 to $5,859,412 Two first-round choices, one second- and one
third-round choice.
Over $5,859,412 Four first-round choices

Now here are a few players, and how much I think it would cost to *maybe lure them away from their current teams:

Phil Kessel, 21 – Boston would never let him go for a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd rounder. Well maybe, but I think you’d have to push it. You could paint Boston into a corner by throwing a $5 to $5.5 million dollar offer at Kessel. Boston would get a couple first round picks back.

Would you move 2 first rounders for Phil Kessel and pay him $5 million + ?

David Kreijci, 23 – Coming off a breakout year here’s another guy Boston will not let go without a fight. You’ll have to probably do the same kind of thing as you would for Kessel.

Would you move 2 first rounders for David Kreijci and pay him $5 million + ?

Kris Versteeg, 23 – $4.5 million could put Chicago in a tough spot, since they have several RFA’s to take care of along with UFA Marty Havlatt.

Would you move a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd rounder for Kris Versteeg and pay him $4.5 million?

Jiri Hudler, 25 – Detroit could be in a bit of bind this summer in terms of cap space. Surely a $4 to $4.5 milllion contract offer would be nearly impossible for them to match. That’s more then they’ll be paying Franzen.

But would you surrender those 3 picks for Hudler and pay him that much? I don’t know. Because of Detroit’s cap situation and depending on if they re-sign Hossa, maybe you could steal Hudler for around $3.5 million and save yourself the 2nd round pick. Still would it be worth it?

Ever wanted to punch Lou Lamerello in the face? Make an offer to Travis Zajac. You could put New Jersey in a tough spot to match a good offer fro Zajac, but I wouldn’t. New Jersey is so good at drafting you’d just be feeding the beast with the picks they’d get back.

The New York Rangers will be in a tough spot having to re-sign both Zherdev and Calahan with limited cap room. But again, offering up $3.5 million to steal Calahan wouldn’t be worth losing a first rounder. And making him an offer around $2.2 million or less to only lose a 2nd round pick won’t work because the Rangers will just match that.


It’s basically structured so that you have to overpay in terms of dollars and draft picks to steal a player. The RFA offer sheet system really helps to protect the teams that currently hold the rights to the players. Look at the Dustin Penner example to see that he was not worth the money or the 1st, 2nd and 3rd round draft picks given up for him. A higher profile player like Vanek who’s $7 million offer was matched by Buffalo, could have been let go for 4 first rounders, which is more than fair.

So before anyone goes crazy with what RFA’s you want your team to go after, remember that its almost never worth it.

If anything, you can maybe attack a team who is pressed right up agains the cap and steal a decent young player who is far from a star. Example: Detroit’s Ville Leino. Suppose Detroit gets a deal done with Hudler and Hossa and are in a bind in the middle of the summer and can’t give Leino anything. You could come in and offer him $1.5 million, steal him and surrender a 2nd round pick. Still doesn’t seem worth it…