There is scattered speculation and maybe wishful thinking out there that the Flyers should consider an offer sheet for Canadiens right wing Cole Caufield.
Our opinion: No. No. No.
Caufield, 22, is a dynamic player, beloved in Montreal. In 123 games over three seasons, he has 53 goals and 31 assists. He’s also an alarming minus-35.
This past season, Caufield scored 26 goals in 46 games before undergoing shoulder surgery on Jan. 27. He said he would have postponed surgery if the Canadiens were in the playoff race.
The Flyers are a team in need. They finished 29th in goals scored at 2.68 per game. Caufield would fit right in.
The restricted free agent has a confident, fiery presence on the ice that oozes leadership. He would be an instant fan favorite in Philadelphia.
And he remains unsigned by Montreal.
What The Flyers Need?
There is no tangible reason to believe the Flyers are seriously considering Caufield, who has repeatedly insisted a contract with Montreal will get done. But the longer the Canadiens and Caufield go without an agreement, the closer we get to July 1, the earliest offer sheets can be signed.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I hear you. This is exactly the kind of player the Flyers desperately need, a goal-scoring threat with a laser shot coming off the right wing.
But the cost would be outrageous and deal-breaking. If a team offers a deal in the slot worth $10.725 per year over five years that would cost four first-round draft picks, starting in 2024.
That amount would be considered necessary to get Caufield to bite. But the Flyers would risk all of that draft capital if the Canadiens choose not to match the offer.
Rebuilding teams simply can’t mortgage the future. Four first-round picks are way too expensive to pay for a team that needs a rebuild and knows it.
Developing depth should be a Flyers’ priority. They need help up and down the lineup. The draft is the way to do it.
When the Flyers correctly talk about rebuilding and patience, signing Caufield to an offer sheet would be the exact opposite action.
Offer sheets are two-way streets. The player must sign it, too. And according to our friends at MontrealHockeyNow.com, there is no indication Caufield wants to leave the Canadiens. But …
Montreal Hockey Now’s Marc Dumont reported “from what I heard, negotiations were not advancing very quickly.”
Teams signing an offer sheet for Caufield isn’t far-fetched. Dumont wrote: “If there’s a chance to add Caufield to their roster, I’d be shocked if most NHL teams wouldn’t at least talk about a possible offer sheet.”
This is the kind of move the Flyers used to make — splashy, going all-in, signing the big free agent who would move them closer to the Stanley Cup.
That’s not the current Flyers. They are not close to the Cup. Going after a big-name restricted free agent is not the patient, thoughtful rebuild they promised.
If the Flyers are considering a Caufield offer sheet — just don’t. Put the pen away.
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Next Playoff Game:
Game 5: Stars at Golden Knights, 8 p.m. Saturday, ABC, ESPN+. Golden Knights lead series, 3-1.