CHN Presents: Scott Stevens & Brendan Shanahan in Offer Sheet Mania
By: Scott Bonin
Though these two offer sheets were signed more than a year apart, they will forever be linked due to the lack of set compensation rules and by an arbitrator's decision.
On July 16th, 1990, The St. Louis Blues signed Scott Stevens to a 4-year, $5.1 million offer sheet. the Washington Capitals could not afford to match the deal and it was agreed that St. Louis would forfeit five 1st round picks. So, lets take a look at the picks the Caps received
In 1991, the Capitals used their first pick to select Trevor Halverson. Halverson did not make his NHL debut until 1997/98 and only played 17 career games. Sooo... not a great start.
Things got better in 1992, however, with the Capitals selecting Sergei Gonchar. Gonchar played 654 games over 10-seasons with the Capitals. He was traded to Boston in 2004 for Shaonne Morrisonn, a 2004 1st and a 2004 2nd.
Things stayed hot in 1993 with the Capitals selecting Brendan Witt. Whitt played 626 games over 10-seasons with the Capitals. He was traded to Nashville in 2006 for Kris Beech and a 2006 1st rounder, which would become Semyon Varlamov.
That would be pretty much it for the Caps, in 1994 Washington traded up in the draft to take Nolan Baumgartner. Baumgartner played just 18 games with the Capitals and was traded to Chicago for Remi Royer. Finally in 1995, Washington selected Miika Elomo. Elomo played carrer 2 NHL games.
A little over a year later, the St. Louis Blues were at it again. On July 25th, 1991 the Blues signed Brendan Shanahan to a three-year, $3.015 million offer sheet, which the New Jersey Devils declined to match, and this is where things got tricky. The Blues offered the Devils goaltender Curtis Joseph, forward Rod Brind'Amour and two draft picks as compensation for Shanahan, which in hindsight would have been perfectly fair. But, the Devils only had one player in mind, Scott Stevens.
The Blues, who had only given the Capitals two of five 1st rounders for Stevens at this point, obviously declined. But the Devils were not giving up and the decision was sent to an independent arbitrator. The arbitrator ruled in favour of sending Stevens to the Devils. So, the Blues ended up giving up five 1st round picks and Scott Stevens for Brendan Shanahan, who they flipped for Chris Pronger a few years later. Which, admittedly turned out great for the Blues. Even if Shanahan was then dealt from Hartford to Detroit and won a trio of Cups of his own.
But the Blues did not give up there, oh no. On July 4th, 1994 the Blues signed Stevens to another offer sheet, this time a 4-year, $17 million contract, as the offersheet game ballooned salaries in the preceding years. The Devils matched, of course, and went on to win multiple Stanley Cups with Scott Stevens during his Hall of Fame career.
The NHL had enough of the Blues and launched an investigation for tampering. The Blues were found to have interfered with Stevens while he was still under contract to the Devils and were ordered to pay the Devils $1.425 million and a 1st round pick. The Blues then hired Mike Keenan days after Keenan voided his own contract with the New York Rangers after they were a day late for tampering. The Rangers sued te Blues and Keenan, costing the Blues Petr Nedved.
So, the Blues did not make any friends in the 1990's and didn't have much to show with it in the end.
Winner: New Jersey Devils
Loser: Washington Capitals
Bigger loser: St. Louis Blues