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Let’s all remember why offer sheets are rarely signed

Dougie Hamilton

Dougie Hamilton #27 of the Boston Bruins skates against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on April 10, 2013 in Newark, New Jersey. The Bruins defeated the Devils 5-4. (April 9, 2013 - Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)

The last player to sign an offer sheet was Ryan O’Reilly in 2013.

The last offer sheet that wasn’t matched was the one Dustin Penner signed with Edmonton in 2007.

Yet despite how rarely offer sheets are signed, and how even more rare it is that they aren’t matched, there’s always speculation at this time of the year.

For example, TSN’s Darren Dreger went on the radio yesterday and wondered if Boston d-man Dougie Hamilton could be a worthwhile offer-sheet target.

“I think Boston would love to keep him,” Dreger told TSN 1050, per Today’s Slapshot. “But there’s a salary-cap issue, as we know, in Boston. And if you’re a rival team, why wouldn’t you try?”

And perhaps some team will try. Hamilton, 21, has the potential to be a cornerstone d-man in the NHL, and there aren’t many teams that win the Stanley Cup without one of those.

However, what a lot of people forget when it comes to offer sheets is that the player has to actually sign it. Which is to say, he has to be willing to leave his team for another. On top of that, he has to be willing to force his team’s hand, with the very real chance that the offer sheet will be matched and he’ll have to stay.

That’s not something that a lot of young players are willing to do. Even if it’s only business, relationships are important, and signing an offer sheet has serious potential to sully a player-club relationship. Lest we forget the relationship between O’Reilly and the Avs hasn’t always been 100-percent awesome.

Besides, no player wants to be accused of putting his own interests ahead of the team’s. Remember all the nice things Shea Weber had to say about Nashville after the Predators matched the Flyers’ massive offer sheet?

Another thing people forget is that a targeting team must possess the requisite draft picks to provide in compensation. Per Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, here’s what we’re looking at this year:


And as Friedman reminds us, “you can’t trade for any of these selections, they have to be your original choices.”