Flashback Repost: The Rangers 1997 Offer Sheet of HHOF Joe Sakic

On Tuesday night Joe Sakic is going to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

The post below, originally from July 19th is a flashback to when the Rangers signed Joe Sakic to an offer sheet in 1997.


On July 28, 1997, Mark Messier signed a contract with the Vancouver Canucks for $20 million over three years.

Following this, the Rangers set off on a path to replace Messier and targeted superstar center Joe Sakic.

In Behind The Moves, Neil Smith said “When we lost Messier [to Vancouver as a free agent], [my boss] Dave [Checketts] comes in and says to me, ‘We should do an offer sheet on Joe Sakic.’… He said, ‘I’m on the board of governors and the Nuggets and Avalanche are broke and [their parent company CEO] Charlie [Lyons] says they are out of money. We’ll front-load [the offer] and they can’t match because they can’t come up with the cash.’

Below is an account from the NY Times and the NY Daily News about the Rangers pursuit of Sakic as a restricted free agent.

August 7, 1997: Joe Sakic signs an offer sheet with the Rangers for three years and $21 million. Colorado has seven days to match the offer and if they don’t the Rangers would be required to surrender five first round picks. There is a chance the Rangers and Avs can strike a deal for Sakic where the Rangers would send players to the Avs instead of the five first round picks.

Sakic will make $17 million in 1997-98 due to a signing bonus of $15 million the Rangers put in the offer sheet. Other RFA players are Mike Modano, Sergei Fedorov and Paul Kariya.

August 8, 1997: The paper writes, “So what if the Rangers boosted the pay scale for hockey players by signing Joe Sakic to an offer sheet of $21 million for three seasons. Who cares if other general managers resent the Rangers’ bid for this elite Group 2 free agent, the kind of restricted free agent who rarely changes teams.”

Neil Smith says, “‘I care more about our fans and our ownership and my own team than I do about the resentment of other people. As long as you are winning, they resent you. And I don’t intend to stop winning.”

August 13, 1997: The Avalanche and Denver Nuggets announce that they will build a new arena downtown that will create revenue and hopefully let the Avs keep Sakic.

Garden president Dave Checketts said of the situation, ”The collective wisdom is they can’t follow the good news with bad. My guess is they will match. I hope they don’t, but I think they will.”

August 13, 1997: Neil Smith compares Mark Messier and Joe Sakic by saying, “Joe plays a much more give-and-go type of game. He’s much more of a darting-type skill player. Much more of an offensive threat, shift to shift, than Mark. Much less of a physical threat than Mark.”

August 14, 1997: Colorado matches the Rangers offer for Sakic and retain him. Pierre Lacroix, the GM for Colorado said of the Rangers, ”The Rangers were very active on the free-agent galaxy. The way they are going, the way they are acting, I’m sure they are going to be the first team to sign an alien and to have an alien to play for their team. I just hope the planet of the alien will have a chance to match.”

It is believed that the Rangers will entertain the idea of sending offer sheets to Sergei Fedorov, Mike Modano or Rob Niedermayer.

August 15th, 1997: The Rangers have now turned their attention to Dallas center Sergei Fedorov. The Rangers think that they will be able to drive a wedge between Fedorov and the Red Wings by offering him a contract worth more than what captain Steve Yzerman is making.

The paper writes, “Should Fedorov join the Rangers, New York would have its own core of Russian stars who understand each other’s language and playing style. Fedorov might make the Rangers a better team than it was last season, even with Messier. His availability and Messier’s departure combine to open a rare window — or door — of opportunity.”

Fedorov held out before signing an offer sheet with the Hurricanes in the middle of the next season. He made a total of $28 million that season due to signing bonuses, salary and playoff bonuses.

November 5, 1997: In the Daily News, John Dellapina writes that Dave Checketts arrogance in the Rangers pursuit of Joe Sakic was a crucial factor in Colorado matching the Rangers offer sheet.

Avs CEO Charlie Lyons said in the paper :

It’s one thing to go after somebody’s free agent, which they have all the right in the world to do.

“It’s another thing to try and justify it by saying, ‘They’re hurt (financially).’ That’s why we did it (sent the picture). But having said that, I think everybody is past it. You just wipe the slate clean and move forward.

“They were under the belief that we weren’t going to be able to pull it off. They miscalculated our vigilance and wherewithal.”

June 1, 2001: Dave Anderson writes that Sakic would be the perfect player for the Rangers to go after in free agency and for Glen Sather to start remaking the Rangers. The Rangers are also reportedly looking to try and sign Patrick Roy and Rob Blake.

All three players re-signed with Colorado.

2012:In the Denver Post, Adrian Dater writes, “when the Avs matched the Rangers’ offer, Lyons sent Rangers GM Neil Smith and president Dave Checketts a framed photo of Nelson Rockefeller, flipping the bird (from the 1968 Democratic convention).”




125 comments
roadyhorns
roadyhorns

We should keep an eye on Alabama punter Scott.


Paul Samuels
Paul Samuels

Great, Gerald McCoy just signed a 7 year, 98 million extension. Wilkshake is going to get paid... 

juunit
juunit

Wow. Bo Wallace. What a throw.

juunit
juunit

So Shonn Greene got arrested.


He parked in a handicapped spot. Then ran away from the parking enforcement person. Then ran away from the real cops when they tried to stop him in traffic.

McGeorge
McGeorge

1. Take the kid gloves off Geno, ask him to throw deep.  If he can't he needs to go.


2. I've barely seen Coples this season.  He was taken ahead of Chandler Jones and is quite a disappointment.  Is he gone after the season?  Will the Jets be able to keep him for a very low price? Same for Kyle Wilson.  (Vets minimum + a little extra)

UncleJoe
UncleJoe

Go Jets, we got this one tomorrow baby, I can feel it!

Hanknaples
Hanknaples

Dolphins just activated Jordan and waved Damian Williams WR.....this kid is worth a look...soft hands and catches the ball away from his body !!

Paul Samuels
Paul Samuels

Bills have no run game, will be forced to throw. Have to stay focused in the secondary. Hopefully the Jets can control the TOP and TO battle. 

marcus81
marcus81

RG3 might start again, we can't have that we're gonna trade for him next year

J. Smooth
J. Smooth

@Paul Samuels Gerald McCoy is a better player than Wilkerson, and plays a different position, so it shouldn't make a very big impact. I still like Wilkerson at 5/65 with 25 or so guaranteed.

juunit
juunit

@Paul Samuels 

14 a year isn't terrible. I know Bent's been saying 12 for Wilk. 

roadyhorns
roadyhorns

@juunit 

Why do people make a mildly expensive situation and turn it into a massively expensive situation? Maybe bath salts.


a57se
a57se

@juunit 

Is he suffering from a concussion or something???

That is about as dumb as it gets!

Pete 57
Pete 57

I think they see Coples taking Pace's job next year.

MikeFrancesser
MikeFrancesser

Coples' contract is through 2015, fully guaranteed and he's making very little..$1.5M

marcus81
marcus81

@McGeorge hey Rex said Coples was a similar player to JPP when he was drafted, we should hold him  to that

juunit
juunit

@McGeorge 

Wilson should be gone. No reason to give him a new contract, he just isn't very good. 

I doubt Coples will be cut, but it will be interesting to see how the team uses him considering how reduced his snaps were last week. I wouldn't be all that surprised to see Barnes taking a lot of Coples reps. 

UncleJoe
UncleJoe

@JetFanSince67 I think very true. I can relate to it, as I am sure many long time fans can, that want our team to win but have been let down over and over.

MikeFrancesser
MikeFrancesser

Well, how did the last dolphin wr cast off you fell in love with work out, big guy? :P

Disgruntled Jets Fan
Disgruntled Jets Fan

Teams don't have to be forced into passing against the jets, they gladly do it on their own.

juunit
juunit

@a57se @juunit 

Maybe he should be allowed to park in handicapped spaces after all?

Hanknaples
Hanknaples

@marcus81 @McGeorge


Wow  DOUBLE WOW !!! You guys are finally waking the EFFFFF UP !!!!


Where is Brendan apologizing for this guy when he really needs him???

Hanknaples
Hanknaples

@MikeFrancesser


They said the same thing about Ted Ginn that they said about Gates (a bust) only Ginn got a decent break with a decent QB but Gates has better measurables!!

Damian has good technique, is fluid and has soft hands which he extends to rec the ball in !!!

Like I said, he's worth a look


MikeFrancesser
MikeFrancesser

I'm just not interested in more 6th or 7th wide receivers right now. They're all the same to me.

Hanknaples
Hanknaples

@MikeFrancesser

You play behind Fitzgerald and Floyd and see how many touches you get !!


And still he has the same average as our #1 Target Decker !!!

Hanknaples
Hanknaples

@juunit @Hanknaples @a57se


And Lead his team to 8-0 in the SEC, the toughest conference in college football !!!

MikeFrancesser
MikeFrancesser

Wait, really? When has Ted Ginn EVER been anyone as a WR? He's been in the league for plenty of time. And he has 4 catches this year. His average YPC is irrelevant

Hanknaples
Hanknaples

@MikeFrancesser


Wait, really what, Mike??


You do realize that Ginn was a PKR specialist for the first what 3-4 years of his Pro career??


Same as Cribbs !!!


Sooo, when it comes to Decker and Ginn, their WR jobs are similar except that Decker has had BETTER opportunities !!!


C'mon Mike you're NOT doing well today....you know you can't win this one, Mike !!!

bradysucks
bradysucks

@MikeFrancesser


Ted Ginn at least was okay on special teams....He uses his speed and he has had a few TD's returning kickoffs...


Gates has just been useless on BOTH special teams and as a WR

MikeFrancesser
MikeFrancesser

Whoa. Hank, come back to earth. Ted Ginn was not drafted high in the first round to be a return specialist. He just wasn't any good as a WR. He still isn't. He never will be. Stop comparing him to Decker, a player that has more receiving yards in his last two full seasons than Ginn has in all of his years. You sound completely ridiculous. The difference between them is not opportunity, it's talent. If that were true, some team with a good qb would give him an opportunity. But he remains a spare parts WR that returns kicks. I wonder why...

Hanknaples
Hanknaples

@MikeFrancesser


Mike my computer is giving me problems and I need to shut it down...But I will tell you the drafting of Ginn was a complete abortion  based on political forces which caused several top execs to lose their jobs. Miami was almost burned down by the fans because of it !!

He was and still is a incredible ATHLETIC PHENOM that needed the right support and opportunity to grow as a WR!!

He never got either in Miami and the rest is history !!