FanPost

Sticking it to Vegas (Again)

Vegas is the most hated team in the league for good reason, from management and ownership routinely throwing players and coaches like Marc-Andre Fleury, Evgeni Dadonov, Robin Lehner, and Gerrard Gallant under the bus, to their attempts at cap circumvention last season that were as pathetic as they were unsuccessful, to their prima donna """franchise""" center who's too busy moonlighting as a WWE heel to backcheck. Even with some maneuvering this offseason by offloading Dadonov's contract, the Pyrite Knights are still in cap hell. The Sabres are not, and this presents an opportunity for something that rarely occurs in the NHL anymore: the offer sheet.

I know what you're thinking: "Buckeye, that will never happen." Most of the time, I would strongly agree with that statement. NHL GM's are terrified of retaliation if they use offer sheets in an attempt to get RFA's. See what happened with the Habs and Hurricanes surrounding Sebastian Aho and Jesperi Kotkaniemi. GM's may also be afraid of physical retaliation if the other team's front office includes Brian Burke.

That said, I don't think that's a problem in this situation. First, the Sabres and Vegas already don't have a good relationship, so there are no concerns about making it worse. Second, I really doubt Vegas is going to have the cap space to effectively get revenge any time soon, especially relative to the Sabres. With all that out of the way, who do I want from Vegas, and what would the offer sheet look like?

I want LHD Nicolas Hague for 3 years at $4.2 million AAV. Hague is a 23 year-old, 6'6", 220lb tank of a defenseman who's got some offense to him, scoring at a 25-point pace over the last two seasons. While he's not an incredible skater, he's both big and smart enough positionally to make up for it, plus he's more competent on the puck than most defensemen with his physical profile.

I wouldn't want him on the power play and his possession numbers are pedestrian, but that's fine with me since he'd probably be playing 3rd pairing minutes 5-on-5 plus some PK minutes. He could also probably fill the Samuelsson role next to Dahlin if need be.

All that said, is Hague worth $4.2 million AAV in a vacuum? I don't think so. However, $4.2 million is the maximum the Sabres can give him while only giving Vegas a 2nd rounder in return should they not match it. It's also going to be difficult to match, as Vegas is already over the cap with only 16 players signed for next season. While some of that is Shea Weber's contract, which will move to LTIR and thus not be counted when the season begins, Vegas can still only exceed the cap by 10%, or roughly $8.3 million, in the offseason. According to Capfriendly, they're already $2.65 million over, and matching this offer sheet would put them at nearly $7 million over, giving them roughly $1.5 million to sign at least 3 more forwards and one more goalie, which is impossible given the league minimum salary. Therefore, they'd have to either let Hague go, or, if they match the Sabres' offer, trade someone away in order to afford Hague.

What're your thoughts on this idea? Are there any similar moves you think the Sabres could or should make? Let me know in the comments.

This is a FanPost written by a member of the community. It does not necessarily express the views or opinions of Die By The Blade.