So, we've taken a look at the Minnesota Wild Unrestricted free agents, but now it's time to evaluate the Restricted Free Agents (RFA's). Now, for those who don't know, here's the definition of an RFA, yes, this is much more complex. (Thanks to aabout.com)
Restricted Free Agents
Players who are no longer considered "entry-level" but do not qualify as unrestricted free agents become restricted free agents when their contracts expire.
- Qualifying Offers
The current team must extend a "qualifying offer" to a restricted free agent to retain negotiating rights to that player.
Players who earned less than $660,000 in the previous season must be offered 110 percent of last season's salary. Players making up to $1 million must be offered 105 percent. Players making over $1 million must be offered 100 percent.
If the qualifying offer is not made, the player becomes an unrestricted free agent.
If the player rejects a qualifying offer, he remains a restricted free agent.
- December 1 Deadline
Restricted free agents must sign NHL contracts by December 1, or they are not eligible to play in the NHL for the rest of the season.
- Salary Arbitration
A team or player can file for salary arbitration as a mechanism to settle contract disputes.
A team can take a player to arbitration once in his career, and cannot ask for a salary reduction greater than 15 percent. Players can ask for salary arbitration as often as they want.
See also: salary arbitration explained
Offer Sheets and Restricted Free Agents
The Offer Sheet is a Contract
An offer sheet is a contract negotiated between an NHL team and a restricted free agent on another team.
The offer sheet includes all the terms of a standard player contract, including length, salary, bonuses, etc.
A player who has signed a qualifying offer or is going to salary arbitration with his original team cannot sign an offer sheet.
Accept or Decline
When an offer sheet is signed, the player’s current (original) team is notified. That team can keep the player under the terms of the offer sheet, or decline and let the player join the new team under those terms.
The original team has seven days to make its decision.
No Turning Back
Once an offer sheet has been signed by a player, the original team cannot negotiate a new contract under different terms or trade the player’s rights. It’s only options are to accept or decline the offer sheet.
The No-Trade Clause
If the original team chooses to accept, or "match" the offer sheet, the player cannot be traded for one year.
If the original team declines the offer sheet and loses the player, it receives draft picks from the player’s new team as compensation.
Compensatory draft picks are determined by the player’s new salary, on a sliding scale.
- In 2010 a team signing a restricted free agent to a salary averaging $2,615,625 to $3,923,437 per season will lose a first-round draft pick and a third-round draft pick to the player’s old team.
- Signing a restricted free agent to a contract worth over $6,539,062 per year costs a team four first-round draft picks.
So, let's take a look at the Wild's RFAs after the jump
Restricted Free Agents
It is impossible to think there are any RFAs that the Wild will not qualify. It is pretty rare to see a team simply walk away from any player they own the rights to. As much as fans may want Chuck Fletcher to make a statement or two, the RFA market is not the place to do it.
Current Cap Hit: $803K
Nathan: This is the biggest decision the Wild have had in a while when it comes to an RFA. There are two schools of thought here. One: Sign a one-year and make him prove that this season wasn't a fluke, but run the risk of him having a huge year and guaranteeing him HUGE dough in 2011. Two: Lock him up long-term now at a budget cost, but run the risk of him reverting to last season's performance. I would lock him up, but I think Fletcher wants him to prove himself again. I hope I'm wrong.
Verdict: Re-signed. One year, $2.2 million.
Buddha: A no-brainer, BTE will be re-signed. The question becomes for how long, and for how much? Is the real LAtendresse the one from Omntreal, or the one paired with Havlat and scoring seemingly at will? More questions than answers, but this is a perfect chance for both sides to show a commitment to each other, give BTE a chance to prove himself, and still protect the team from making a mistake in either direction. The contract will be longer than a year, no longer than 3, and for no more than $3million per year.
Verdict: Re-signed. Three years, $2.4 million per.
JS: He's going to be the hot topic until we hopefully sign him. It may not be a question of "if" but rather a question of "how long? ". He was pretty much the most exciting Wild player this season but he's also be the biggest question mark. What if he signs a big contract and doesn't live up to it? What if he signs a one year contract and he gets injured or goes elsewhere next year? We need to re-sign him for sure, but is he the real deal? He did say he would prefer a long term contract for security, but the expectations on him will be high.
Verdict: Re-sign Three years, $2.5 - 2.75 million per.
Current Cap Hit: $1.1 million
Nathan: You have to re-sign Harding, at a reasonable cost, if only to make him attractive on the market for trade-bait. Harding will not be here longer than another season, so the Wild need to at least sign him for a two-year deal, because he's not good enough to be a rental for someone. Of course, this is all moot if the Wild are able to move him at the draft, but I don't think that will happen.
Verdict: Re-signed, one year, $1.5 million.
Buddha: Making a pretty good living for a backup goalie, don't you think? If I read correctly, Harding must be qualified at 100% of his current contract, meaning they will qualify him at $1.1 million. Negotiations may drag on a bit, but they likely end up finishing with another GM. You can bet Fletcher will be pushing hard to trade him at the draft, alleviating the issue of needing to re-sign him. Of course, Fletcher is not going to trade him just to trade him, so if the right offer is not there, the Wild simply hold on to him until the trade deadline, or later in the summer. Keep in mind, this is the last year Harding will be RFA eligible.
Verdict: Traded at the draft. If by chance that does not happen, re-signed at $1.3 million for one year.
JS: Another complicated situation. We're likely to trade him, but what is his value? If CF can't find a good deal (which actually sounds impossible!), we'll need to maybe re-sign to sensibly the same contract he already has if you ask me.
Verdict: Re-signed, one year, $1.5 million (if not traded).
Current Cap Hit: $1.4 million
Nathan: Fuck James Sheppard
Verdict: I refuse to answer.
Buddha: Keep in mind I am writing this without seeing Nathan's work first, so I can only imagine what my lead-in is here.
James Sheppard is vilified by Wild fans, and for good reason. He is the poster boy for everything the old regime did wrong. Thrust into an NHL job before he was ready and forced to remain in that position despite clearly struggling, Sheppard needs to go. However, he still has value, to someone. As much as all of you may want the Wild to slap him across the face by not even qualifying him, to do so would simply be acting in the same way as HWSRN. He has value, whatever it may be. Perhaps Fletcher can make another masterful trade like Pouliot for BTE.
Verdict: Qualified at $1.4 million, settling on $1.5 million. Traded at some point during the season.
Ugh... can we skip him?... I didn't think so. The word is he's probably getting an offer, and believe it or not, this is likely a good idea, but I want him nowhere near the Wild this year. If we can't pawn him off elsewhere, he needs to go to the AHL to get what little groove he ever had back. Phoenix had the right idea sending Boedker and Turris back, we sent Gillies back, so sending Shep to the AHL can't be that bad an idea. Anything but seeing him play another season like he just had...
Verdict: re-sign *gags* 3 yrs. 850000 per season.
Ok folks, you've seen the UFAs and RFAs. What do you think of our opinions?
Up next will be a look at who is available and whether or not they fit into the Wild's future, then our fantastic end-of-season awards!