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In the wake of the San Jose Sharks failed attempt earlier this month to sign defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson away from the Chicago Blackhawks via offer sheet some bloggers suggested the possibility of the Sharks or another team trying to do the same with Blackhawks restricted free agent goaltender Antti Niemi.
Hockeyleaks.com was the latest to make such a suggestion back on July 16th:
There has been some speculation that the Sharks could now make a second offer sheet to the Hawks, this time for Niemi. Sneaky move if it happens.
It certainly would be a sneaky move. So why hasn’t it happened? Because Niemi filed for salary arbitration over two weeks ago, making him ineligible to receive an offer sheet.
As an aside, the same thing goes if a team takes a player to arbitration.
One team, the New York Rangers, actually made this move with goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, not because they felt his side was being unreasonable in their salary demands, but rather as a ploy to prevent him from receiving an offer sheet target whilst the two sides were hammering out a new contract. Less than a week later, Lundqvist re-signed with the Rangers.
So remember, kids, if an NHL player has filed for or is being taken to arbitration, he’s ineligible to receive an offer sheet. Here endeth the lesson, class dismissed.
About the Author: B.D. Gallof is a published writer and hockey blogger. He writes about Hockey, NY Islanders & the NY Islanders venue situation for CBS New York. BD has been written up in Sports Illustrated, TSN.ca, the NY Times Slapshots blog, Yahoo's Sports and SportsBusiness Journal. He has been a featured blogger for The Huffington Post, as well as owner, lead writer, and managing editor at HockeyIndependent.com.