Can the Vancouver Canucks even make an offer sheet, and who could they target?

Photo credit:© Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Stephan Roget
9 months ago
If there’s one angle through which the Vancouver Canucks might improve their roster during this upcoming offseason that hasn’t been discussed all that much, it’s the offer sheet.
And that’s perhaps with good reason. Offer sheets are rare, they’re complicated, and they’re controversial.
But you know what else is rare, complicated, and controversial? Actually, successfully retooling a non-competitive roster into the shape of a genuine contender. If the Canucks are going to get themselves into the territory of hockey’s ultimate glory anytime soon, they’re going to take some big bold swings at some point, and offer sheets are among the boldest swings available.
But are the Canucks, with all their traded-away draft picks, even eligible to make an offer sheet?
The answer is both yes and no.
In order to make an offer sheet, a team must have the compensation required if the offer sheet proves successful already on hand, and that compensation always takes the form of a team’s own original draft picks, starting the draft after the offer sheet is made.
These picks are only paid if the player in question accepts the offer and the team who owns the player’s rights does not match the offer sheet, and the picks cannot have originally belonged to another team.
Only players who have had at least one NHL contract expire, have played 80 games or more over three seasons at the NHL level, and are a qualified-but-still-unsigned RFA are eligible to receive offer sheets.
For the 2023 offseason, the offer sheet compensation structure, based on the AAV of a contract (or that contract’s total salary divided by five if the contract is longer than five years), looks like this:
$1,415,740 or less = No compensation.
$1,415,741 to $2,145,061 = Third-round pick.
$2,145,062 to $4,290,125 = Second-round pick.
$4,290,126 to $6,435,186 = First and third-round picks.
$6,435,187 to $8,580,250 = First, second, and third-round picks.
$8,580,251 to $10,725,314 = Two firsts, a second, and third-round picks.
Over $10,725,314 = Four first-round picks.
As of now, the Vancouver Canucks own their own first round pick and third round pick in 2024, so they are free to make offer sheets in the first, second, and fourth tiers. They also own all of their own first round picks for the foreseeable future, so they could theoretically make an offer in that seventh and final tier of compensation.
But unless they were to re-acquire their missing second round pick from the Detroit Red Wings, who acquired it during the Filip Hronek deal, the Canucks would not be eligible to make an offer sheet in the third, fifth, or sixth tiers of compensation.
In other words, GM Patrik Allvin and Co. can offer an offer sheet-eligible RFA a contract with an AAV of up to $2.145 million, from $4.290 million to $6.435 million, or at over $10.725 million.
But who would they even make such an offer to? Let’s check out some still-as-of-yet unsigned RFAs who might make worthy candidates.
Vince Dunn, LHD, Seattle
Offer Sheet Range: $4,290,126 to $6,435,186        
There was a time not all that long ago when the Canucks were offered Dunn’s services for the price of a mere third-round pick. He’d be a fair bit more expensive today, however, after becoming the de facto number one defender in Seattle this past season.
Capable of playing on either side of the blueline, Dunn is as versatile as it gets. But even an offer sheet of the full $6.435 million over five years would probably be matched by Seattle, who aren’t short on cap space, and the Canucks aren’t eligible to make a better offer (unless they want to offer him more than $10 million a season).
Bowen Byram, LHD, Colorado
Offer Sheet Range: $4,290,126 to $6,435,186        
For a team as good as they are, the Avalanche are also flush with cap space, especially after the news that captain Gabriel Landeskog is set to spend the entirety of next season on LTIR. As such, it’s going to be difficult to pry a star young defender away from them in the form of Byram, even with his history of concussions.
The Canucks, or any other team wishing to secure his services, would have to go overboard on an offer sheet, easily clearing $6 million, and even then it seems likely that the Avalanche would match. For a player as talented as Byram, however, it might be worth a shot anyway.
K’Andre Miller, LHD, New York
Offer Sheet Range: $4,290,126 to $6,435,186
Miller is probably the single-best player on this list, which makes him both an excellent offer sheet candidate and one that would be excessively difficult to actually land. He’s a top-pairing-quality defender who can truly do it all just entering his prime, and even with an impending cap crunch, the Rangers really can’t afford to part with him.
We’d go as far as to suggest that an offer in this range would not only not get it done, it would probably be downright welcomed by the Rangers. It probably costs more than $10 million to actually get Miller on an offer sheet, and he’s not worth that.
Evan Bouchard, RHD, Edmonton
Offer Sheet Range: $4,290,126 to $6,435,186        
A more reasonable D target for offer sheets is right next door in the form of Bouchard. The Oilers are tight up against the cap and trying to improve their blueline, which means tough decisions ahead that can be made tougher via an offer sheet.
In order to get Bouchard, the Canucks would have to bet a bit on potential and pay him more than he’s reasonably earned at this point, but Bouchard is young enough at 23 to make such an investment worthwhile.
The best thing about offer sheeting a division rival is that either you get your player or you create cap complications for a team you’re competing against. It’s a win/win.
Ross Colton, C/LW, Tampa Bay
Offer Sheet Range: $1,415,741 to $2,145,061
Why not target the most cap-saddled team of the offseason? The Lightning are going to have to make cuts all over their roster, and that could include the still-yet-to-fully-breakout Colton.
A capable middle-sixer, Colton can play a multitude of roles at the NHL level, including that of a 3C. Unfortunately, from the Canucks’ perspective, he’s in an awkward range of expected compensation. $2.145 million probably gets matched, and $4.290 million is definitely too much. The numbers just don’t line up for this player. 
Alexis Lafrenière, LW, New York
Offer Sheet Range: $1,415,741 to $2,145,061
Lafrenière’s name has been attached to the Canucks plenty over the past year, and we have to imagine they’re still at least a little interested. But Lafrenière, like Colton, falls into a strange no man’s land of offer sheet eligibility that the Canucks probably can’t hack. An offer of $2.145 million gets easily matched, and to pay Lafrenière over $4.290 million would be quite a leap of faith, never mind a questionable investment for a team already loaded up with wingers.
This one just doesn’t fit.        
Cam York, LHD, Philadelphia
Offer Sheet Range: $1,415,741 to $2,145,061
York is a young do-everything sort of D who was drafted 14th overall, but has yet to break in full-time for the Flyers. In order to steal him from an ostensibly retooling roster, the Canucks would have to overpay based on potential, but with York still just 22 years old, that’s not a bad bet.
Chances are good that Philadelphia would just match any offer rather than lose an asset like York for a third round pick, but one never knows. Despite their lowly status, the Flyers are not exactly flush with cash.
Cody Glass, C, Nashville
Offer Sheet Range: $1,415,741 to $2,145,061
Make Jim Benning’s dream come true, and bring Glass home to the Canucks.
Just breaking into the league fully now, Glass is proving to be a capable bottom-six center with some solid two-way chops, but nothing fancy by any stretch of the imagination. The Predators probably let him go rather easily if an offer sheet comes in in this range, which means the question that the Canucks really have to answer is if they think Glass is truly worth a third round pick.
We’re split on that decision.
Dylan Coghlan, RHD, Carolina
Offer Sheet Range: $1,415,741 to $2,145,061
Coghlan is a sizeable and well-rounded RHD who has struggled to break into the NHL, but only because he’s been stuck on some deep bluelines in Vegas and Carolina. With the Hurricanes reportedly reacquiring Tony DeAngelo, Coghlan remains on the outside looking in, and can probably be stolen away for $2 million or less. That would constitute paying a bit extra for potential, but Coghlan’s profile is certainly an enticing one, and he’s still just 25 years old.

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