Sportsnet’s Sonny Sachdeva posted an article in which he discusses possible restricted free agent offer sheets that could be presented to 8 marquee RFA’s, and the following scenario is entirely possible within the realm of NHL operating parameters…but not very plausible, especially given Anthony Mantha’s recent injury history:
Anthony Mantha, Detroit Red Wings: The Red Wings find themselves at an interesting place in their rebuild — not far enough along to make waves, but with enough seeds planted to cause them to be wary of committing money that may be needed later. That bring us to Anthony Mantha, the club’s 20th-overall pick from back in 2013. The big-bodied winger has three solid seasons on his resumé, finishing around 25 goals and 50 points for two seasons prior to 2019-20. Last season, he once again showed well for the portion of the season he was able to play, scoring at a 30-goal, 72-point pace (16 goals, 38 points through 43 games).
There’s no mystery about his value — he’s proven his ability to pot goals consistently at the highest level, and on a thin roster, no less. And he brings dominant size, clocking in at six-foot-five, 235 pounds.
As stated earlier, Yzerman’s club has the most cap space in the league, $18.7 million, with just RFAs Mantha, Tyler Bertuzzi (who went the arbitration route), and Dmytro Timashov to sign. That means plenty of room to ink Mantha to a new deal, regardless of the number. But Yzerman is also fresh off playing a key role in building a winner in Tampa Bay, and no doubt understands the importance of making wise financial choices long before that contender cap crunch arrives.
Detroit has had a top-10 pick in each of the past four drafts (Michael Rasmussen, Filip Zadina, Moritz Seider, and Lucas Raymond). Dicey long-term deals to longtime Red Wings was the key issue when Yzerman arrived to begin his tenure as his old club’s GM. So, if a club with room targeted Mantha with a deal well above what Detroit felt was fair, would Yzerman match, or take the draft picks and focus on his future talent, with the team far from contending any time soon anyways? A deal in the $6.54–$8.73-million bracket could make things interesting in Hockeytown.
Continued; in theory, sure, that would be interesting, but the Red Wings have $18.738 million in CapFriendly-estimated salary cap space with which to re-sign Mantha, Tyler Bertuzzi and Dmytro Timashov.
If someone is crazy enough to “off sheet” Mantha in a massive overpayment, yeah, the Wings may very well take the picks and run, but that’s not going to happen to begin with.