Should Restricted Free Agency Exist In The NHL?

Image by Dinur Blum (@rabbi_d) via Flickr

Restricted Free Agency is an important part of the National Hockey League. It allows for teams to retain players who are under 27 and/or have played less than seven years in the NHL. But should it still exist in the league?

The reason why restricted free agency (RFA) is important is that it allows for teams to retain rights to their younger players past July 1 to keep negotiating. If a team doesn’t have the money at the time to sign them, tendering an RFA gives that team an opportunity to make space for that RFA.

If they can’t work out a deal some of them can go to arbitration while others can either be traded or offer sheeted (that last one hardly happens).

Right now if players were to accept an offer sheet and their team couldn’t match that offer, their team would get compensation depending on how much money they were offered on the offer sheet. Below are the current compensation rules:

Why it shouldn’t exist?

While I think restricted free agency is great for teams it would be interesting to see what would happen if they weren’t allowed to tender players. Players, if they hit the open market, would be able to choose where they want to play. It would create for a fun July 1, and you also wouldn’t burn any bridges by demanding a trade.

General managers also wouldn’t be burning any bridges with each other with offer sheets. It’s well known that teams hardly offer sheet other RFA’s because it can create bad blood between GMs.

What it would mean for the 2019 Restricted Free Agents

Some of the current RFA’s include, but are not limited to Mitchell Marner, Brayden Point, Mikko Rantanen, Matthew Tkachuk, Brock Boeser, Patrik Laine, and Jacob Trouba. They could choose where they want to go and the landscape of the NHL would change.

Will it ever happen?

I never see this happening as restricted free agency is important to teams, players, agents, etc. But it’s a fun topic to look at!

Cap info from – CapFriendly

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