The Sharks have signed defenceman Niklas Hjalmarsson to a four-year, $14 million dollar restricted free agent offer sheet. This means that the Hawks have a week to match this offer, and if they do not, then the Sharks give up a first and third round pick in the 2011 draft in return for Hjalmarsson.
Trying to sign RFAs is frowned upon alot because it drives up the price of young players, but signing RFAs to an offer sheet is one of the legitimate ways of acquiring players.
What this means is that the Sharks don’t think that what they are left with on defence now that Rob Blake has retired is enough. They also have prospects Jason Demers, Nick Petrecki and Derek Joslin, along with Boyle, Murray, Vlasic, Leach and Huskins.
It is interesting that they have chosen Hjalmarsson over free agents Willie Mitchell or Aaron Ward, or instead of making a trade.
I’m not in favour of giving away a first round draft pick when there are other options. How good Hjalmarsson is remains to be seen as he was fourth among Hawks dmen in ice time with a 19:39 average.
They must be figuring that a near the end of the first round pick is not worth much this year, with the draft being considered one of the thinnest in a long time. Time will tell.
About the Author
Written by Marvin Miller
Freelance Sportswriter for many years. Hockey coach for 10 years up to Bantam AA. Certified Level 2 in both hockey and racquetball. Works now as a Senior Technical Writer. Hobbies, racquetball, playing guitar, and following hockey, particularly the NHL Draft.