If Bruins GM Don Sweeney can lock up restricted free agent defensemen Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo in short order and still has the cap space after, he should offer sheet San Jose Sharks 22-year-old restricted free agent winger Timo Meier to solidify his Top 6 forward core.
With the Sharks signing defenseman Erik Karlsson to an eight-year, $92 million deal this past Monday, they’re in a salary cap quandary now with five other unrestricted free agents – including captain Joe Pavelski and future hall of famer Joe Thornton – and another key RFA in Kevin LeBlanc. There’s blood in the water in San Jose and with a league-wide feeling that there could be an offer sheet for the first time since 2013, Sweeney should be the Shark here and pounce on this opportunity to get a rising star that can help his team now and in the future.
The Bruins have internal work to do locking up players and they need to figure out if they’re going to lock up defenseman Torey Krug, who can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2020, but they still could very well have the cap space to sign Meier to a three to five-year deal worth $4,227,438 to $6,341,152 per season. If they were to go that route, they would then have to surrender their first and third round draft picks in 2020.
In his second season in the NHL, Meier just scored 30 goals and had 36 assists in 78 games, and then was a beast in the playoffs with five goals and ten assists in 20 games, as he helped the Sharks to the Western Conference Final. Sweeney and President Cam Neely both acknowledged that one of their main offseason targets is still a top 6 scoring winger with size and the 6-foot, 210-pound Meier could fit the bill.
Yes, there hasn’t been an offer sheet accepted in the NHL since the Edmonton Oilers offered then RFA Anaheim Ducks forward Dustin Penner a five-year contract worth $21.5 million on July 26, 2007 and the Ducks chose to accept the compensatory first, second and third round picks for 2008, but there is a growing feeling that this could be the offseason where NHL GM’s decide to break the unwritten code not to offer sheet. With a flood of young talent like Meier, Leafs forwards Mitch Marner, Avalanche forward Mikko Rantanen, Lightning forward Brayden Point, Hurricanes forward Sebastian Aho and Jets forward Patrik Laine, to name a few, potentially the RFA market, the belief league-wide is that general managers will start to use this tool that for fear of retribution, they haven’t as much as one may expect.
Clearly, those names mentioned above are ahead of Meier at this point, with Marner being the big fish that a team with plenty of cap space will target, but with the contracts the Bruins have to deal with internally right now, and how much cap space they may have after, Meier makes the most sense.
Here’s a look at offer sheets rules with salary and compensation:
Any salary to $1,395,053: No compensation owed
$1,395,054 to $2,113,716: one 3rd-round-pick owed
$2,113,717 to $4,227,437: one 2nd-round-pick
$4,227,438 to $6,341,152: one1st-round pick and one 3rd-round-pick
$6,341,153 to $8,454,871: one 1st-round, one 2nd-round, one 3rd-round-pick
$8,454,872 to $10,568,589: two 1st-round, one 2nd-round, one 3rd-round pick
$10,568,590 and up: four 1st-round-picks owed.