We knew going in that this off-season's UFA crop was weak, both on the front and back ends. When your big prize is Andrew Ference... yeah. But you know what isn't weak? The RFA class of 2013.
Here's a quick look at some of the RFA defensemen who have yet to sign with their clubs. For comparison's sake, the Avalanche currently have nearly $12 million in cap space. The RFA compensation table looks like this (lifted from Copper And Blue):
|$ 1,024,845||No Compensation|
|$ 1,024,845||$ 1,552,794||2014 3rd round pick|
|$ 1,552,794||$ 3,105,684||2014 2nd round pick|
|$ 3,105,684||$ 4,658,386||2014 1st round pick, 2014 3rd round pick|
|$ 4,658,386||$ 6,211,182||2014 1st round pick, 2014 2nd round pick, 2014 3rd round pick|
|$ 6,211,182||$ 7,763,978||2014 1st round pick, 2015 1st round pick, 2014 2nd round pick, 2014 3rd round pick|
|$ 7,763,978||2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 1st round picks.|
#27 / Defenseman / St. Louis Blues
Jan 18, 1990
|2012 - Alex Pietrangelo||47||5||19||24||0||10||2||0||0||93|
- Blues' cap space: $7.85 million with a projected full 24-man roster
- Qualifying offer: $826,875 (his ELC just ended)
- Last cap hit (including bonuses): $3.16 million
Pietrangelo is one of the top young defensemen in the league. St. Louis can probably afford under the cap to keep him if they really want. It's hard to believe a team that has never spent more than $55 million in CapGeek's existence suddenly wants to go a lot higher than its current $57 million bankroll, but... would they really let him go?
Other essential numbers from this season include starting in the offensive zone 50.3% of the time (middle of the road in St. Louis) and 1.614 shot attempt differential per 20 minutes, second best on the Blues behind only old, very sheltered, friend Kevin Shattenkirk. His QualComp figures are also second highest on the team, behind only seasoned veteran Jay Bouwmeester.
Pietrangelo is the reason St. Louis was able to give up on EJ. He's a guy who fits a need now (top-flight defense who adds scoring) and fits in the Avs' cap situation possibly better than he does St. Louis's. What would you give him?
#44 / Defenseman / Winnipeg Jets
Jul 15, 1990
|2012 - Zach Bogosian||33||5||9||14||-5||29||0||0||0||85|
- Jets' cap space: $19,716,500, to sign like 7 roster players
- Qualifying offer: $3 million (he is on his second pro deal)
- Last cap hit (including bonuses): $2.5 million
Bogo is a bit tougher because Winnipeg most definitely has the space to keep him, even if it's at the expense of having to cheapen up a couple of other positions. He was deployed mainly in his own zone (44.2% Ozone starts) against the second-toughest competition, behind only Ron Hainsey and not by much. His possession numbers sank a little due to the tough usage, about -1.3 shot attempts differential/20.
It seems likely to take a massive overpayment to pry him out of the Peg without them matching. What would you offer?
#27 / Defenseman / New York Rangers
Jun 13, 1989
|2012 - Ryan McDonagh||47||4||15||19||13||22||0||0||1||83|
UPDATE: As of this morning, McDonagh signed for $4m+ over six years.
- Rangers' cap space: $11,255,833 to fill 4 roster spots
- Qualifying offer: $826,875 (his ELC is expiring)
- Last cap hit (including bonuses): $1.3 million
It would be hilarious if Joe Sakic, who NEVER SIGNED AN OFFER SHEET WITH THE RANGERS, signed a Ranger to an offer sheet. McDonagh is due a healthy, healthy raise as one of the best up-and-coming shut-down guys in the Eastern Conference. He saw his own zone 46.8% of the time, less than any other Ranger, and faced tougher competition than all his peers except Dan Girardi. Despite that, he maintained a shot attempts differential/20 of very nearly +3. This is a guy who drives possession against the best you have to offer from his own zone. Something to consider, obviously, is draft pick compensation. If you sign an RFA to an offer sheet you're giving up some picks. How would the Avs feel about giving up picks to Conference III rivals St. Louis or Winnipeg? It's a lot easier to see those assets used by the Rangers. I'd think hard about throwing the world at this guy. What about you? NEVERMIND.