The most intriguing cases in free-agent season are often Group 2s – the restricted ones. The RFAs are younger and more valuable assets than players who reach the UFA stage; the RFAs are not truly “free” (any RFA worth signing costs multiple draft picks); and RFA action is extremely rare: there was none between 1999 and 2006, and there has been none since 2013.
Still, RFA offer-sheet chatter has heated up this season, and it’s not difficult to see why: there’s an exceptional crop of 21- and 22-year-olds coming off entry-level contracts. A handful of competitive cap teams have some of these players, making them vulnerable (Winnipeg, Toronto and Tampa Bay, to name a few). The draft-pick compensation looks like small potatoes compared to the players on the table, and the league’s economic lan...
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