Offer sheets in the NHL tend to be taboo, but that mindset may be shifting somewhat headed into this summer.
Bob McKenzie answered viewer questions on the NBCSN Overtime show Wednesday evening.
One query cut right to the chase: “Auston Matthews offer sheet. Will it happen?”
“People are talking a lot about offer sheets,” noted McKenzie. “Historically we haven’t had one for so long that I’m almost of the opinion ‘seeing is believing.’ If we get one, then I’ll say, ‘Yeah, you know what, that’s great. There’s an offer sheet.’ But until then, I don’t know.
“Now, there’s all sorts of rumors out there. And one of the rumors - and I stress a rumor. If it was a report, if there was any evidence to back this up, I would say it. But he’s an Arizona boy. So there’s all sorts of speculation that the Arizona Coyotes would come in on a one-year max deal, $16 million a year that would make it difficult for the Toronto Maple Leafs to match.
“That’s the kind of talk that’s out there. Whether it happens or not remains to be seen. But there are a lot of people who believe if there were ever there were a time when other NHL teams might want to take advantage of a team like the Toronto Maple Leafs on a player like Auston Matthews or Mitch Marner, that this would be it.
“So we’ll have to wait and see what happens in the offseason, but I’m skeptical. And yet I know there are teams, general managers, talking to their owners and saying, ‘Hey, this whole offer sheet concept, this is one we should revisit. This might be the summer to break the ‘no offer sheet’ mold that’s been so prevalent for so many years.’”
Matthews and Marner are in the final seasons of their entry-level contracts, and are eligible to sign extensions at any point.
Contract-related info via CapFriendly