• Morton’s Fork

    by  • April 9, 2010 • Uncategorized • 15 Comments

    In keeping with yesterday’s theme of prospects using the CBA to put themselves into a more favourable situation, I thought I’d draw some attention to Cory Schneider. If Mike Gillis is as astute as I think he is, Schneider will be traded before free agency opens.

    If he isn’t traded before free agency opens, Schneider makes an even better target for an offer sheet than Josh Harding last year. Schneider has a pretty bulletproof resume – he’s presently amongst the top twenty THN prospects and Hockey’s Future has him at 32.

    A couple of CBA quirks make Schneider an attractive target. First of all, he’ll become an unrestricted free agent if he doesn’t play at least 30 minutes in 21 games next season. In Roberto Luongo’s last seven seasons, the backups have played at least 30 minutes in 21 games just once. Barring injury, it’s something that seems unlikely to happen.

    Second, you can’t trade players in the first season of a contract that was matched in free agency. If the Oilers (or someone else) gave an offer sheet to Schneider that Vancouver matched, they’d be stuck with him, unable to trade him to someone else. If he didn’t end up playing 30 minutes in 21 games, he’d become a free agent at the end of the season.

    Third, on re-reading the CBA it now seems to me that qualifying offers can consist of both signing bonus and salary and, unless I’ve missed something, that there’s no limit on the amount that can be counted as a signing bonus. So, for example, if the limit at which the compensation for an RFA is a second round draft pick is $3MM, a contract could provide for $1MM in salary and $2MM in signing bonus.

    Imagine the scenario that the Canucks would face if Schneider signed such an offer sheet. They’d have to choose between accepting a second round draft pick for a player identified as an elite prospect, one who is ready to step into the NHL, or pay him $3MM to back up Roberto Luongo next season, with a strong likelihood that he’ll be an unrestricted free agency at the end of the 2010-11 season.

    Is a top goaltending prospect worth a second round pick and $2MM? I’d have to think that the answer to this is “yes.” Second round draft picks aren’t free. While we don’t know what sort of signing bonuses they usually get, something in the range of $150,000 to $200,000 wouldn’t surprise me. If they spend the three years of their ELC in the minors, you can add another $200,000 to the bill – and that’s for an uncertain return.

    For a rebuilding team, the opportunity to grab an elite prospect for nothing more than money and a draft pick seems like a heck of a deal. I fully expect that Gillis will move Schneider before July 1 but if he doesn’t…well, moves like this would represent a smart use of money that would assist in turning the Oilers around.


    15 Responses to Morton’s Fork

    1. David Staples
      April 9, 2010 at

      Good suggestion, Tyler.

      Let JDD go. Risk sending down Dubnyk. Sign this Van guy.

      P.S. I see that Josh Harding has rebounded from his horrific start to the year. . .

    2. speeds
      April 9, 2010 at

      He’s definitely a player than will be featured in my annual post on potential RFA targets. That he’s in the division and that he’s likely to be poachable (or, as likely as any RFA) only makes him a more attractive target. I would have thought he’d be another year until Group VI free agency, man that sneaks up on teams with goalies!

      Interestingly, the Oilers will have the same problem with Dubnyk if he gets through waivers and doesn’t play some number of games for the Oilers next season (at least 10, probably more depending on how many of his 18 GP saw him play 30 minutes).

    3. John K
      April 9, 2010 at

      I like the idea. I also like the idea of hitting chicago where the sun dont shine if they they leave Ladd, Niemi, or Hjalmarsson open. You could target the least favourable in Ladd at 3.0M, and when they match, you immediately go after the 6’3 Swede rookie dman (playing solid minutes for them) or their young goalie (who is outplaying Huet like crazy).

      How many balls can chicago keep juggling before they drop one?

    4. April 9, 2010 at

      Dubnyk played 30+ in 17 of the 18 appearances, so they need to give him 11 more to prevent him going into Group 6.

    5. TV
      April 9, 2010 at

      There is a rub there though…

      Only players who are signed to ELC’s & SPC’s over the age of 35yrs old can be given any kind of bonus compensation.


    6. speeds
      April 9, 2010 at

      Term is a pretty interesting discussion with Schneider’s agent, if he goes RFA and you are negotiating as a GM.

      I think it’s pretty astute of MC to go with a one year offer. Schneider goes UFA in 3 years. Do you gamble and sign him to a 4 or 5 year deal for 2 mil? Does VAN match that, and trade him in a year when it’s allowable? Does a two year deal take him too close to UFA?

    7. Tyler Dellow
      April 9, 2010 at

      @Cosh – good point. They basically either have to go with three next year unless htey get rid of someone now. They aren’t going to have enough games for everyone.

      @TV – You have have signing bonuses in deals and, as far as I know, there’s no limit on them once you aren’t dealing with ELC deals.

      @Speeds – The one year is key because it means that Vancouver gets nothing for him unless they get him 21 games next year. In retrospect, not bringing him up this year might be a stupid decision, because it leaves them vulnerable to this.

    8. speeds
      April 9, 2010 at


      You can give signing bonuses to Schneider*, but they count fully against the cap. You can’t give performance bonuses. The reason for giving Schneider 2 mil in signing bonus and 1 mil in salary, instead of 3 mil in salary, is to set his QO at 1 mil for the following summer.

      * = Heatley is an example of a guy who got signing bonuses in his last contract, signed post new CBA. Part of the drama last summer was the timing of one of his 4 or 5 mil bonuses.

    9. speeds
      April 9, 2010 at

      They can sign both Deslauriers and Dubnyk to two way deals, so in theory they could waive Deslauriers and keep Dubnyk up until he hits his games played requirement, and then recall JDD and waive Dubnyk should they so desire.

      It would obviously risk waivers an extra time on an extra player, but it’s conceivable they could try to keep all three in the system without making a decision before the fall.

    10. TV
      April 9, 2010 at

      Gotcha’, I read that incorrectly, but yet you clearly stated it as a “signing bonus” & not just “bonus”… I need to read more carefully before I reply.

      It still is a VERY interesting way to pry him away from the Knucks & force their hand while doing so…


    11. freeze
      April 9, 2010 at

      Great thought but I think the probability of Tambo doing so is 1-2%.

    12. Schitzo
      April 9, 2010 at

      For once, our completely broken goaltending situation is an asset – we can almost certainly guarantee Schneider 30+ starts. I doubt there are many other teams in the league who could say that.

    13. Deano
      April 11, 2010 at

      Again, I point out that our ‘completely broken goaltending situation’ also is an asset if we get Price from the Habs. He gets to be the one applying pressure to the starter here and will get a good number of games in behind rickety Nick. Price is more expensive than what Tyler suggests here with Schneider.

      Unfortunately, we do not have much between replacement-value players and solid contributors signed to movable deals to offer for Price.

      I would not worry about losing JDD to waivers. I still hold out hope for DD, but not that much.

    14. The Other John
      April 11, 2010 at

      I have never figured out why Schneider has never been given either playing time or traded. Schneider or Harding seem like better options for a RFA signed backup that could step into the # 1 keeper role if Bulin cannot go

    15. TV
      April 13, 2010 at

      Quick question here…

      If the signing bonus counts to the Cap Hit, does it not count as to the compensation as well then? At $3mill, would this not put the offer sheet compensation at a 1st & 3rd rounder & not just a 2nd..?

      (e) For the purposes of this Article, the Principal Terms of an Offer Sheet are limited to the term, Paragraph 1 Salary and Signing Bonus and Reporting Bonus the New Club offers to the Restricted Free Agent (currently and/or as Deferred Compensation in
      specified installments on specified dates) in consideration for his services as a hockey Player under the SPC.


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