Each year, when free agency rolls around, there is always a group of restricted free agents who seem to hold out for the best deal possible. While an offer sheet certainly is an option that is legal under the CBA, GMs often don't like tendering one as it can sour relationships with other GMs around the league, which could come back to bite them later on.
Saad Yousuf, who covers the Dallas Stars for The Athletic, recent reported that talks between the Stars and RFA goaltender Jake Oettinger
are not going according to plan. There has also been some speculation that had the Habs not been handcuffed to Carey Price
's deal, they may have reached out to Oettinger with an offer sheet already. Whether or not "Otter" would have signed is a different story.
Per Yousuf, the term does not appear to be the issue here, as Dallas remains open to discussing both short-term and long-term deals. The issue between the two sides seems to be the AAV. While Oettinger is emerging as one of the brightest young talents in goal league-wide, there is a very apparent lack of comparables for a young goaltender with so few starts to his credit.
I'd imagine we'll see a bridge deal here of one or two years, likely two, so that the second year of the deal can contain a higher actual salary to boost Oettinger's qualifying offer. These sorts of back-loaded bridge deals are common when there's a large gap between the team and the player.
Such a deal would allow the Stars to get a bargain in year one and would allow Oettinger to prove himself as a true number one goaltender and give the Stars more clarity on what the goalie is. Then, in year two, Oettinger would be compensated a little more fairly, with more bargaining power and arbitration eligibility with a higher qualifying offer, which ensures that he can cash in on a long-term deal, as long as he holds up his end on the bridge deal.
The 23-year-old goaltender put up a 30-15-1 record across 48 appearances last season, posting a 2.53 GAA and a .914 SV% over that span.