“You start to think about back when you were a kid and how fun it was watching the Leafs growing up. … At the end of the day I felt like it was a rare opportunity I couldn’t pass up.” – John Tavares
“It’s time to live my childhood dream in Toronto” – John Tavares
To clear up some slight misconceptions I see circulating out there, on the subject of offer sheets and the Leafs/Islanders:
The player has to be an RFA. Toronto only has four: Nylander, Johnsson, Holl, and Gauthier. Matthews is still under contract. Marner is still under contract. Only the four RFAs are eligible to sign an offer sheet.
The player has to sign the offer sheet. An offer sheet is just a contract offered by a team that does not hold the rights to the player. The player has to agree to it, sign it, just like any other contract. They hold the power.
The team who holds the RFAs rights has a week to match any offer sheet that gets signed. If they accept, the player becomes a member of the offering team immediately, just like if they’d signed with them in free agency. In return, the RFAs former team acquires the draft pick compensation as dictated by the yearly value of the offer sheer. Transaction completed.
There are 7 tiers of offer sheets, based on the yearly value of the contract. Each tier comes with an attached draft pick compensation to the team that’s losing the player. Check out Capfriendly for the details. Important: the picks given in compensation have to belong to the team making the offer. They can’t offer a pick they’ve traded for, only their own.
As it currently stands, the Islanders could only present an offer sheet worth less than $1,339,575/season, because that tier requires no compensation, or worth more than $10,148,303/season, because the compensation for that is their next four 1st-round picks, which they have possession of. They have no 2nd or 3rd-round pick next year, so they are unable to present an offer sheet between those two tiers to anybody, unless they reacquire their own picks via trade.
So you can see why the idea of an offer sheet from the Islanders to any of the four Toronto RFAs would be pretty fucking stupid. $10.1 million/season for any of those four would be a ridiculous overpay. If for some reason either Johnsson or Nylander got completely wasted and thought signing one worth $1.33 million/season was a good idea, Toronto would match that in about half a second. That’s about it.