Stamkos: Procedure, rules, myths

The compensation for Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos would likely be four first round draft picks (Chris O'Meara/AP)

With all of the hoopla surrounding the Flyers’ possible interest in Tampa Bay’s restricted free agent forward Steven Stamkos, let’s outline some facts, rules, and figures.

We outlined here in our story in Tuesday's paper why the Flyers might want to and why Tampa Bay might not come to terms with Stamkos on a new deal. A report from Rogers SportsNet in Canada on Tuesday said Stamkos and the Lightning are still "not close" on an extension.

Whether any of this happens remains to be seen, but it’s important to know how it all works.

Starting today (Tuesday), at 5 o’clock, if the Flyers are so inclined, they may contact Tampa Bay forward Steven Stamkos - through his agents, Don Meehan and Mark Guy of Newport Sports Group - to express their interest by way of an offer sheet.

According to the NHL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, the offer sheet can be presented - and must be faxed to the Lightning and NHL and NHLPA - but no agreement can be signed until the free agency period opens on July 1.

In the meantime, Stamkos could use the offer sheet (if presented) for leverage in his negotiations with Tampa Bay.

“Restricted Free Agents may make contact with Clubs (including their own) regarding potential interest, but may not sign new SPCs or Offer Sheets until the opening of Free Agency Signing Period.”

The Lightning will have 7 calendar days to review the offer sheet. They can decide to either match the offer sheet, exercising their “first refusal notice,” and pay their player the amount listed on the offer sheet, or they can choose to accept the compensation.

“(ii) An Offer Sheet, once signed by the Player and the New Club, shall be irrevocable.”

If the prior club, or Tampa Bay in this case, decides to not address an offer sheet after 7 calendar days, the player will become property of the new club.

Since Stamkos would likely be signed to an offer sheet above $7,533,584 million, the compensation would be four (4) first round draft picks, payable in one first round pick per year for four straight years.

The Lightning have a right to check with the NHL and place a reserve on the Flyers’ draft picks, meaning they cannot trade them in another move, while mulling over any offer sheet.

It is not possible to send an offer sheet without first having said compensation available. The Flyers have all four of their next first round picks.

-Steven Stamkos is not eligible for arbitration as he has not played four professional seasons after signing his entry-level contract.
-If he is presented with an offer sheet, accepts, and the Lightning decide to match, he must honor the deal.

-The Flyers could sign Stamkos to a deal with any (reasonable) term that doesn't circumvent the CBA, a la Ilya Kovalchuk. For instance, a 14-year, $110 million deal would work for an average cap hit of $7.8 million.
-The Flyers are permitted to exceed the $64.3 million salary cap (and have in the past) by up to 10 percent in the summer but must be cap compliant by Oct. 6.
-The maximum money in any given year is set near $12 million. So, for instance, a deal structred like $20M-$5M-$7M-etc. will not work.

According to the NHL’s CBA, here is exactly what a (rather simple) offer sheet looks like:

Name and Address of Player ("Player"):
Name and Address of Player's Certified Agent, if any:
Prior Club:
New Club:

[New Club] hereby offers to enter into an NHL Standard Player's Contract ("SPC") with Player containing the following Principal Terms:

1. Term of SPC:
2. Signing, Reporting, or Roster Bonus (if any): $
3. Paragraph 1 NHL Salary for each year of SPC: $
4. Paragraph 1 Minor League Salary, if any, for each year of SPC: $

Date: _______________

_______________________ Player (signed)

__________________________ New Club (signed)
cc: NHL Central Registry, NHLPA, Prior club

-For a solid look from the other side, read Erik Erlendsson's blog on the Tampa Tribune web site about the on-going Stamkos saga.
-This is another helpful link on signing RFAs.

For the latest updates, follow Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @DNFlyers

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