Before making it official that head coach Todd McLellan would return for next season, San Jose Sharks general manager Doug Wilson recently confided that there were "probably five or six" free agents the team would not re-sign.
He would not elaborate. Some could be restricted free agents and some could be unrestricted. So which ones should stay and which should go?
The first any GM will look at is their restricted free agents. These players are at the mercy of the team they are under contract with if they want to play in the NHL.
Barring a trade or release by that franchise, they are extremely unlikely to be signed away because of the sacrifice involved. And it goes well beyond their right to match other teams' offers.
If a player is worth keeping, the team only has to offer about $1 million to force any competing team to give up draft picks to sign their player away. The better the player, the bigger the offer and the larger the sacrifice.
Thus far, few teams have even extended offers to other teams' RFAs—it is more common to go through a summer without one than with one. Fewer still have been unmatched, and none since 2007.
So the only question that coaches and management face with a restricted free agent is, do we want him? If he is an NHL player, he will come at a bargain and offer hope of improvement.
Here is a look at every RFA decision the Sharks have this summer and what I would do.