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Understanding the Off-Season: Restricted Free Agency

Need a refresher or new to the whole RFA process, well today is your lucky day!

Colorado Avalanche v Arizona Coyotes Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The NHL off-season can be a long and boring process. While not as publicized as the other three major sports, the NHL off-season still brings about a lot of intrigue. Ahead of free agency starting FFH....okay just me, will give you a free agency refresher and once we get closer to the start of Free Agency, we will fill you in on where the Arizona Coyotes stand. For this first edition, we are going to look at the RFA aka Restricted Free Agency.

So let us start with how a player becomes listed as a Restricted Free Agent. One becomes a RFA once they have finished out their entry level contract, however they do not fall past the threshold of NHL service time to become a free agent. Much the MLB and service time, the NHL’s threhold is a lot lower given the lack of arbitration and other rules. Basically, a lot of RFA’s are within a couple years of when they made there debut.

Another factor is the Qualifying Offer. QO’s are common in sports and usually tie themselves to draft compensation. From the team’s perspective, the QO keeps the player as a RFA. There are a few financial things to take into consideration when extending the qualifying offer.

  • A player making $660,000 or less much receive a QO of 110% of that players salary
  • A player making between $660,001 - $952,380 receives 105% of that players salary
  • A player making between $952,380 receives $1 million in salary
  • A player making more than $1 million receives 100% of that players salary

The qualifying offer is a contract, if it is signed than that is what you receive. If they reject it, then they become an RFA.

The player is still free to negotiate with other teams, however once the offer sheet is signed from a team they cannot receive anymore offer sheets.

The team has 7 days to match the offer sheet. If they do not, then the team who extended the QO receives some form of draft compensation.

Here is the offer sheet compensation numbers from the 2018 free agency period which should give you a basic understanding of what to expect this year.

The signing of offer sheets is rather uncommon. William Nylander’s restricted free agency this past off-season was very interesting.

For the Arizona Coyotes, there is a fun little list of RFA’s that John Chayka and company will have to worry about this off-season:

Goaltender: Hunter Miska, Adin Hill

Defenseman: Ilya Lyubushkin, Dysin Mayo

Fowards: Lawson Crouse, Nick Cousins, Josh Archibald, Emil Pettersson, Michael Bunting, David Ullstrom, Hudson Fasching

Check back throughout the off-season to see how we think it will all shake out