Moneypuck: RFA's

Justin Azevedo
June 26 2013 05:59PM

 

 

While some of the criteria of Moneypuck applied to UFA's carries on to Moneypuck applied to RFAs, there are a few key differences.

I did not include RFAs who I believe would have a potential Flames offer matched by their team. I also tried not to include unrealistic targets. I also left out goalies, because the market for RFA goalies that are worth a damn is always sky high.

More of the focus here is looking for teams that might be in cap trouble and thus the Flames would be trying to poach the rights of the RFA before moving on to the possibility of an offer sheet.

There's also RFAs who have, for one reason or another, have become less valuable to the organization than the organization is willing to pay for them. In some cases, this presents an opportunity to find talent without giving up a large amount of assets.

The Methodology

  • Ideally, requiring a contract that is not an extreme overpay.
  • Has shown the ability to play at the NHL level.
  • Has a high likelihood of either being a top-9 forward or top-4 defenseman.
  • Where applicable, not a possession sinkhole.

Obviously it's a little harder to make determinations about how good a guy's tough-minutes abilities are with a smaller sample than usual, but we'll do our best. Surprisingly, these criteria (and the one that states "thou shalt not sign players that suck at hockey") left us with a small amount of candidates. Keep in mind, because of the nature of offer sheets, it's highly unlikely that more than two offer sheets per season will be extended.

The Targets

Jared Spurgeon

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The Wild are in trouble when it comes to this year’s salary cap: with only 3.5 million in cap space, the Wild need to find Justin Falk, Cal Clutterbuck and Jared Spurgeon new contracts. Erik Haula, Zack Phillips and Matt Dumba will all be pushing for roster spots as well, furthering their cap crunch. Basically, any RFA will be ripe for the taking.

Spurgeon is a top-4 defenseman right now. The Flames need a top-4 defenseman. He’s only 23 and has displayed some offensive upside at every level, most notably this past year where he gathered 15 points in 39 games (~.4PPG). His entire career he’s had a positive Relative Corsi and he plays against 2nd and 3rd lines.

Age: 23 (on 05/10/13)

Expected Compensation: 2nd Round Pick

David Rundblad

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The Coyotes have a well-documented recent history of penny-pinching, but even so the name of one of their top prospects appearing here might confuse some people. The reason, though, is simple: Phoenix is chin-deep in high quality young defensemen. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Keith Yandle, Zbynek Michalek, Michael Stone, Brandon Gormley and Connor Murphy are all ahead or equal on the depth chart to Rundblad. This leads me to believe they might be a little more willing than usual to part with Rundblad.

Rundblad is going to be a top-4 defenseman in the league and has scored at a high rate in both the SEL and AHL the past two years: last year in the AHL, his NHLE was 35 and his last year in the SEL his NHLE was 58 (as a 20 year old). It’s worth “overpaying” to get Rundblad as well - a contract with an AAV of $2.5 million would only require a 2nd round pick as compensation.

Age: 22 (on 05/10/13)

Expected Compensation: 2nd Round Pick

Jordan Schroeder

Vancouver Canucks Jordan Schroeder

Vancouver is probably in the worst shape cap-wise in the Western Conference. They only have about 7k per roster opening to spend this summer. Keith Ballard will be bought out, but the Canucks need a 3c and a 4c, as well as a new contract for Chris Tanev. Things are gonna be tight.

Schroeder is likely an NHLer next year, and looks to have top-6 potential. He’s also a centre, which could result in a very good 1-2-3-4 centreman lineup in a couple of years. His point totals might not be where they’re expected to be, but Thomas Drance is still very bullish on him as a player.

Age: 23 (on 05/10/13)

Expected Compensation: 3rd Round Pick

Benoit Pouliot

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The Lightning may not be in cap trouble at the end of the day due to LTIR exceptions, but right now they have about 500k per player available to spend in free agency. However, that's without Vladislav Namestnikov, Andrej Sustr, Slater Koekkoek and Brett Connolly on the cap, so things will likely be a little tighter than that.

Pouliot has shown he can outshoot players the past three years by a heavy margin. In those seasons, he's played 2nd and 3rd liners with one high ZS% season, one mid ZS% season and one low high ZS% season (relative Corsis of 3.9, 10.5 and 8.6 respectively). He's also scored at a high rate the past three seasons, with a PPG of .45.

Age: 27 (on 05/10/13)

Expected Compensation: 2nd Round Pick

Marcus Johansson

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The Capitals aren't in an awful amount of cap trouble, but with only 5 million in cap space and Karl Alzner in need of a new contract, things could get tighter than is comfortable for George McPhee.

Johansson hasn't had the most stellar numbers underlying-wise, but most 22-year-olds that play 1st and 2nd line comp don't have stellar numbers. However, Johansson has scored pretty close to a first-line rate in his NHL career, totaling 95 points in 183 games - that may be due to his playing with Alex Ovechkin, but Ovi has been a sinkhole for the past couple of seasons.

Age: 22 (on 05/10/13)

Expected Compensation: 1st and 3rd Round Picks

Alexander Burmistrov

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This is less Winnipeg having cap troubles and more Burmistrov appearing to be done with the Jets. He hasn’t done much in the way of scoring, but Burmistrov is the Jets' best underlying player at this point and that is never a bad thing. As well, he's still insanely young.

Age: 21 (on 05/10/13)

Expected Compensation: 3rd Round Pick

Conclusion

There's much to be had in the RFA market this year and there's potential difference makers at every position. The Flames, if they so chose, could likely get at least three of these guys: for me, I think Spurgeon, Schroeder and Burmistrov would all be excellent additions. It's a little harder to find true Moneypuckers in the RFA market, but these six would be an excellent starting point for Jay Feaster and Co.

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Justin is a 22-year-old Flames fan who also happens to be pursuing a double major at the University of Calgary. He has played hockey at high levels, enjoys wearing shorts and tends to drink far too much Grasshopper. Please don't hate him.
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#51 Rockmorton65
June 27 2013, 07:38AM
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TSN just reported that Tampa is buying out Lecavalier.

Feaster, you're up! I think he'd be a great guy to carry the mail for a couple years. 3 years @ 4.5 per?

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#52 Vowswithin
June 27 2013, 07:47AM
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@Rockmorton65

Woo we let the fun begin! I'm betting Toronto is all over him. Buy outs, ufa draft here we come.

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#53 negrilcowboy
June 27 2013, 08:14AM
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Rockmorton65 wrote:

TSN just reported that Tampa is buying out Lecavalier.

Feaster, you're up! I think he'd be a great guy to carry the mail for a couple years. 3 years @ 4.5 per?

No Thank You, Vinny is not worth that price tag. 4.5 mill per for 3 years should and could be spend a hell of a lot wiser than an obvious POST APEX player such as Vinny da bolt.

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#54 Vowswithin
June 27 2013, 08:22AM
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@negrilcowboy

Someone is going to pay him stupid money.... Hopefully not us, we do need a #1 center but not a 4-5 year deal and our souls.

I'd like him at a price he would never take....

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#55 Rockmorton65
June 27 2013, 08:26AM
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@negrilcowboy

I don't know. Unless we are going to throw our kids to the wolves (ala Edm) we need to bring in someone who can play against other teams top line. Vinny could do that. It wouldn't cost us anything but cap space. And a three year term is perfect. Whoever we take in the draft will be ready to take over at that time.

Without a trace of sarcasm, who would you rather we spend that money on and, who do you think would be a better option at centre? You've been on this board for awhile and I'm curious to hear your take on this.

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#56 Rockmorton65
June 27 2013, 08:28AM
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Oh, BTW, I expect a bidding war on him and I would top out our offer @ 3Y/15M

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#57 Kmp
June 27 2013, 08:30AM
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@Rockmorton65

I agree completely, scored over .8 a game last 5 years, improves your pp, good on faceoffs. Most of the negativity towards Vinny is from the contract not his play.

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#58 Kurt
June 27 2013, 08:40AM
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For the love......... This type of signing is EXACTLY what the Flames did for the past 7 years.

He would represent MORE OF THE SAME. Again.

Forget high priced, old, formerly good, still maybe good, expensive veterans. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE.

I'm not too worried, I can't imagine a guy like Vinny coming here to finish 29th place for a few years. Doesn't sound like something you do when you can pick your destination. Unless we massively overpay (cringe)

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#59 Burnward
June 27 2013, 08:44AM
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If Richards gets bought out, I want both,,,just for the awesome irony(?) of that situation.

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#60 Burnward
June 27 2013, 08:50AM
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Seriously though, I'd take Vinny at 3 years/5 per in a second. Still has game, gives us a center and allows Backlund to slide into two, Stajan to go three, and maybe a captain.

The problem with him isn't that he can't pay the game...it's that contract. Too many people get that twisted.

He'll go to Montreal though.

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#61 Burnward
June 27 2013, 08:51AM
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@Burnward

Hahahaha. Can't PLAY the game. Oy. But fitting...

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#62 Kurt
June 27 2013, 09:04AM
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Burnward wrote:

Seriously though, I'd take Vinny at 3 years/5 per in a second. Still has game, gives us a center and allows Backlund to slide into two, Stajan to go three, and maybe a captain.

The problem with him isn't that he can't pay the game...it's that contract. Too many people get that twisted.

He'll go to Montreal though.

Booooo

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#63 Rockmorton65
June 27 2013, 09:05AM
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Kurt, gotta disagree my friend. He's EXACTLY what we need right now. Not only is he a center capable of playing top line minutes (which we dont have, btw), he can teach the kids about being a professional. Not just goals/assists, wins/losses, but the value of giving to the community, how to work the media, etc. Creating solid, well rounded players.

The difference is that we would pay a MODERATE price, for the short term and with a purpose. In the past, we have thrown big money at over the hill vets to get us to the playoffs. This is different. This is about acquiring skill, passion and knowledge for all the youngins' in our system and the ones to come.

ZERO risk as I see it. All we give up Is the 1C spot (which is vacant) and cap space for the next few years that we aren't using anyway. Our friends up north don't have that, and they're struggling.

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#64 Burnward
June 27 2013, 09:12AM
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@Rockmorton65

I like the cut of your jib.

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#65 Burnward
June 27 2013, 09:14AM
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Also, he's only 33. Not exactly over the hill.

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#66 MC Hockey
June 27 2013, 09:29AM
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Rockmorton65 wrote:

Kurt, gotta disagree my friend. He's EXACTLY what we need right now. Not only is he a center capable of playing top line minutes (which we dont have, btw), he can teach the kids about being a professional. Not just goals/assists, wins/losses, but the value of giving to the community, how to work the media, etc. Creating solid, well rounded players.

The difference is that we would pay a MODERATE price, for the short term and with a purpose. In the past, we have thrown big money at over the hill vets to get us to the playoffs. This is different. This is about acquiring skill, passion and knowledge for all the youngins' in our system and the ones to come.

ZERO risk as I see it. All we give up Is the 1C spot (which is vacant) and cap space for the next few years that we aren't using anyway. Our friends up north don't have that, and they're struggling.

I fear it but embrace it nonetheless. Agreed he's worth a shot as long as no NTC!

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#67 MC Hockey
June 27 2013, 09:49AM
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Justin Azevedo wrote:

the wild will do everything possible to keep him, imo.

But unless they buyout Heatley, they have around $3M under cap with 3 players to sign...don't see how they can keep Clutterbuck if they actually sign 23 players

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#68 Burnward
June 27 2013, 09:52AM
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@MC Hockey

Heatley's injured, so the Wild can't buy him out. Tough situation for them.

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#69 everton fc
June 27 2013, 10:02AM
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I'd look at Johansson via trade. Cammy or Tanguay, perhaps? Same with Burmistov - via trade for more picks...

Of the rest - Runblad might have an upside. Spurgeon is so small, as is Schroeder. Of the two, I'd go with the latter. Pouliot = Stajan. Same thing. I wonder how Schroeder would do on the 3rd line instead of Stajan? (I have this funny feeling Stajan's going to have a decent year, and if he can remake his game - PK, more defencive role, chip in 10-12 goals - he might be worth keeping around after next season. We'll see)

As for Vinny... The Rangers could use him. So could a team like Columbus. But I think, for the right price, he'd be a good fit here. If you could move Tanguay and/or Cammy's contract...

Funny how all the recent years af chatter abotu Vinny playing w/Iggy! Now Vinny may be in the mix here. I can't see that being a bad move, for the right price. It would allow Backlund to play as the #2 pivot, which is his ceiling (maybe).

Off topic - to me, the Bruins need to get quicker defencively. Would Gio have been able to contain, or at least help contain, Chicago's first line with Chara? I wonder...

Also - I'd avoid Richards. Can you imagine if Feaster had convinced him to come here, with that massive, insanely suicidal contract? Be forewarned once again - Feaster's been known to put together bad deals... (Babchuk still comes to mind!)

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