NHL raising salary thresholds for 2022 offer-sheet compensation

The NHL is raising the salary thresholds that will determine the draft-pick compensation owed in the 2022 offer-sheet process.

As the process currently stands, if an NHL club tenders an offer sheet to a restricted free agent and the offer sheet is signed, the club receiving the RFA must send that player’s former team some level of draft-pick compensation, with the haul going the otherwise determined by the average annual value of said offer sheet.

In 2021, the lowest AAV triggering the need for a draft pick to be transferred was anything over $1,356,540, with an offer sheet ranging between that salary and $2,055,364 requiring a third-round pick be surrendered. The tiers escalated from there, up to the highest tier, which instructed that an offer sheet with an AAV of $10,276,829 or more required a team to pay up four first-round picks if their offer-sheet target signed the deal.

When 2022’s free-agency window opens, teams will be operating with new thresholds to consider.

The lowest AAV triggering the need for a draft pick to change hands has been raised to $1,386,490 (an increase of $29,950). Each lower and upper limit of the salary tiers has been raised in turn, with the highest tier — requiring teams to pay four first-round draft picks — now sitting at $10,503,720 and above (an increase of $226,891).

The full compensation scale for 2022 offer sheets is as follows:

Over $1,356,540 to $2,055,364

Over $1,386,490 to $2,100,742

Over $2,055,364 to $4,110,732

Over $2,100,742 to $4,201,488

Over $4,110,732 to $6,166,096

Over $4,201,488 to $6,302,230

First round pick

Third-round pick

Over $6,166,096 to $8,221,463

Over $6,302,230 to $8,402,975

First round pick

Second round pick

Third-round pick

Over $8,221,463 to $10,276,829

Over $8,402,975 to $10,503,720

2 first-round picks
Second round pick
Third-round pick

The NHL saw one offer sheet tendered and signed last year, with the Carolina Hurricanes acquiring Jesperi Kotkaniemi from the Montreal Canadiens via a one-year, $6.1-million offer sheet. In electing not to match the offer, Montreal was paid two draft picks by Carolina (a first- and a third-rounder in 2022).

The same two teams were involved in the other only offer sheet tendered in the past nine seasons, with Montreal tendering a five-year, $42.27-million offer sheet to Carolina’s Sebastian Aho in 2019, which the Hurricanes elected to match.

In all, there have been 38 NHL offer sheets tendered up to this point, dating back to 1986, 22 of which were matched by the clubs who received said offer sheets.

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