Restricted free agency in the NHL is a weird, middling, vague, and unpleasant realm of the CBA. Due to the League being run by a bunch of old white, back-slapping cronies, the top end of the RFA toolkit rarely ever gets used in trying to poach players that have drastically out performed their first and second contracts. It’s a bit underhanded, but it’s perfectly legal to do, and the it’s such a big deal when an offer sheet happens is because they are so rare. Whatever anyone’s thoughts on the Flyers or Shea Weber as a player, the offer sheet he signed was brilliantly structured with poison pills left and right that made it difficult for mid-market dope David Poile to swallow when signing him.
But there is an inverse, flip-side, bizzarro aspect to restricted free agency as well, and that is when a team declines to give a player it has under control a qualifying offer, the deadline for which passed yesterday afternoon, and sometimes it’s not exactly done on purpose. And the list of players now left out in the cold is quite interesting.