NHL Notebook: Even with Aho kerfuffle, offer sheets remain a threat for cap-crunched teams

(Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)

When it comes to comparing the NBA and NHL offseasons, it’s not even a fair fight. 

Sure, a year removed from John Tavares’ move back up north to Toronto, other NHL stars, like Artemi Panarin, P.K. Subban and Sergei Bobrovsky, are on the move. 

But when compared to the bombast that has been the last two weeks alone in the NBA, it’s a bit telling when the most fireworks found in the NHL mostly came by way of an offer sheet signed on the first day of free agency. 

The hoopla that followed when Carolina Hurricanes forward Sebastian Aho agreed to a five-year, $42.27-million offer sheet — good for an AAV of $8.454 million — with the Montreal Canadiens was well warranted. After all, only nine offer sheets have been tendered in the NHL since the salary cap was instituted. 

In a league in which player movement — especially among franchise players — is still a relatively rare occurrence, offer sheets stand as the offseason’s true white whale. 

And while they’re not often utilized, Don Sweeney was quick to acknowledge that offer sheets stand as a looming threat that NHL clubs — especially organizations up against the cap — must brace themselves for every summer.