Random Canucks Thoughts: Could Arturs Silovs get offer sheeted by another NHL team?

Photo credit:© Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports
David Quadrelli
17 days ago
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Before you furiously rush to the comments section to name-call and accuse me of fear-mongering, let’s get a few things out of the way right off the hop.
First, the answer to the question posed in the headline is, “Yes, he could, but he almost certainly won’t.”
Second, this wasn’t even on my radar until a regular reader and commenter of CanucksArmy pointed it out to me in a comment.
So, if anyone is fear-mongering, it’s this guy! Not me! This guy! (Kidding, of course, appreciate you, Jon0.)
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s dive into this question.
Arturs Silovs burst onto the scene with the Canucks during this year’s playoffs after goaltenders Thatcher Demko and Casey DeSmith went down with injuries. DeSmith’s injury held him out for just one game, but with the way Silovs played, it quickly became Silovs’ crease to lose.
The 23-year-old, who the Canucks selected in the sixth round of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft was long believed to be a serious diamond in the rough by Canucks director of goaltending Ian Clark, and Silovs didn’t disappoint in his first taste of NHL playoff hockey. Silovs’ performance in game six against the Nashville Predators was one of the best we’ve seen, as he made 28 saves en route to a shutout that advanced the Canucks to the second round of the playoffs.
The year prior, Silovs led his home country of Latvia to their first medal in IIHF history when they defeated Team USA in the bronze medal game. Silovs’ performance in that tournament was so great, that he was named tournament MVP. The IIHF also named him runner-up to Connor Bedard for the Men’s Player of the Year Award.
This is all to say, if you didn’t know the name Arturs Silovs already, you certainly know it now.
Here’s where the offer sheet aspect comes in.
For those that don’t know what an offer sheet is, it’s essentially a way for teams to sign players who are restricted free agents — free agents who are still club-controlled and won’t hit free agency on July 1st (unless they’re not given a qualifying offer, but that’s a whole other can of worms.)
The Canucks hold Silovs’ rights, and are almost certainly going to sign him to a contract. But they haven’t done that just yet, meaning that when the negotiation window for offer sheets opens on Tuesday, July 2nd, every team will be free to negotiate with Silovs.
Now, on the odd chance that Silovs actually does sign an offer sheet, the Canucks will have a chance to match the contract, and Silovs will then have to accept that as his new contract. And if the Canucks don’t match, they get compensation for that based on how much Silovs’ offer sheet is for.
via CapFriendly
Silovs is a young goaltender who has certainly put the league on notice. Teams all around the NHL would love to have a player like him in their goaltending stable, but the offer sheet is so rarely used that it likely won’t even matter. The list of players who have signed offer sheets is a short one, and most recently, it was used as a petty tool between the Montreal Canadiens and Carolina Hurricanes. It also resulted in the Canes overpaying on Jesperi Kotkaniemi’s contract, and giving up draft picks to do it, too.
Those two offer sheets — Montreal’s to Sebastian Aho, which the Canes matched, and Carolina’s to Kotkaniemi, that the Habs did not match — are the only two offer sheets signed in the NHL since Ryan O’Reilly in 2013.
Funny enough, Frank Seravalli appears to be one of the first people in the market to bring up a Silovs offer sheet, as he shared during an appearance on Sekeres and Price that somebody brought up the idea to him:
“Is Arturs Silovs an offer sheet candidate? Somebody said it to me this week and I was like ‘hold on a second, hm’. Like, what could you do to make it enticing enough for the Canucks to move on? At that price point, you don’t have to stretch very far to make it –once all the ducks are in a row — so that the Canucks can’t afford it, and then you can get him without really giving up a key pick… You might want to get on your horse and just get a deal done.”
Seravalli makes a good point, that the Canucks can’t put Silovs’ contract too far low on their priority list, as the longer they wait and the more cap they commit to players not named Silovs, the more vulnerable they become to an offer sheet really messing with their plans.
Offer sheets are rare, and they’re even more rare for goaltenders to sign. The last goaltender to sign an offer sheet was Arturs Irbe in 1996. The same Arturs Irbe who briefly played for the Canucks, and the same Arturs Irbe that said he believes his fellow Latvian Arturs Silovs would one day lead the Canucks to a Stanley Cup.
So, yes, it’s certainly rare and very unlikely that we see an offer sheet given to Silovs, but to answer the original question, yes, there is certainly a world where Silovs gets offer sheeted, but that’s a world where NHL general managers aren’t scared of rocking the boat by using all the tools at their disposal.
But even if it happens, it’d be hard to imagine the Canucks wouldn’t just immediately match the offer sheet.
Teams can begin negotiating with other teams RFAs for the purpose of signing an offer sheet as of July 1st.
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