Mathew Barzal will be a main offer sheet target this offseason, and if the Montreal Canadiens want to go down that route again, he should be a player to go for.
Last summer was the summer of the supposed offer sheet. The likes of Mitch Marner, Kyle Connor, Patrik Laine, Matthew Tkachuk, Brayden Point and Mikko Rantanen, to name a few, were all restricted free agents causing a lot of stir in the NHL for entire offseason. With the “available” talent and cap crunch in the wake of several teams, many believed it would be the year for a legitimate offer sheet for the first time in years. Surprisingly, none of those top names went as the Montreal Canadiens made a run at Sebastian Aho.
We all know how that ended. The Montreal Canadiens signed Aho to an offer sheet for five years at $8.454 million annually. It was an offer indeed, but not one that stirred the pot or made the Hurricanes squirm as they quickly announced they’d match it.
It was Marc Bergevin’s attempt at adding superstar talent for the upcoming season, and it resulted in nothing. Perhaps things would’ve been different if the Habs drove the number up. Who knows, but with another season without any playoff hockey in Montreal, Canadiens’ management will be pressed to do something to change things.
Could said change-up be another dance at the offer sheet table? And if so, could Mathew Barzal be the player who gets it done? The projected salary cap ceiling for next season makes it a possibility, but it’ll come down to whether Marc Bergevin and the Montreal Canadiens are willing to pull the trigger.