Vegas Golden Knights General Manager opens up about why GMs are afraid to use offer sheets

November 22, 2022  (1:14 PM)

The Vegas Golden Knights have been the villain of the NHL the past few seasons. After letting go of Max Pacioretty and Marc Andre-Fleury, for absolutely nothing.

However, Kelly McCrimmon spares us no mercy with his take on the tactics for improving an NHL team.
McCrimmon, the man who let go of Fleury without letting him know his status with the franchise he was with for 4 years and won a Vezina Trophy with, let him find out he was traded over Twitter.
This is a bit sanctimonious on his part, considering how carefree McCrimmon and the Golden Knights are with their talent.
While true, the offer sheet war between the Carolina Hurricanes and Montreal Canadiens ended up with Montreal losing talent in the long run, it hasn't led to the exact scenario McCrimmon theorizes would happen.
Why are offer sheets so rare?
Signing an offer sheet is a very rare occurrence. It is unusual for RFAs to sign offer sheets with other teams and the original team almost always matches the offer sheet. This is the first reason why offer sheets are so rare; even if you do sign a player to an offer sheet, it's extremely unlikely that the original team will not match it.

It's a big deal to sign an offer sheet. It is well within a player's right to sign one, but it signing an offer sheet can be interpreted as dealing in bad faith. For a player that has been drafted and developed by an NHL team to go behind the team's back and sign a contract with another team all while negotiating a contract with their original team it's risky to say the least.

It can cause a lot of bad blood and animosity to develop between the player and the team, and can lead to burned bridges that don't help the player going forward. In most cases, it is also unlikely that a team will not offer a similar contract anyway, so why bother ruffling feathers if you don't have to?

Offer sheets aren't utilized because they don't keep labor costs in line with how cheap owners want to be.
NHL teams are risk-averse when dealing with their labor and want team-friendly contracts more often than not unless it's a star player.
Why else would Gary Bettman continue to keep the cap low even when the NHL is flush with cash, at $6.1 Billion in revenue for 2021-2022?
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