Now, I know the "rumor" that the Islanders gave Doughty an 8 year, $68.4M offer sheet is BS. But I think it makes a lot of sense for the Islanders to try and get him the offer sheet way.
They've got plenty of money to work with, so they would be able to afford the contract. And with the way the rebuild has gone, and where we'd hope to finish with Doughty these next four years, the price of 4 first-rounders is palatable for a player of Doughty's stature.
The other issue to look at would be potential retaliation from the Kings, with John Tavares a year away from RFA status. But I would call the Kings bluff, for two reasons: they're relatively close to the cap, which is one of the reasons they're having a hard time signing Doughty. And I don't think they'd use any extra space on a center, with Richards and Kopitar locked up long-term. And again, if they did go after him, we'd match it.
Even looking at the Kings situation, letting him walk for 4 firsts isn't that insane. They've got Jack Johnson and a very decent crop of defense prospects on the way, and would have 8 firsts in the next 4 drafts, including two in next years defense-heavy draft. They'd be able to deepen their blueline and wings over the next few years at a low price, keeping them cap compliant and still quite formidable as a team.
As much as offer sheets aren't used in the game, I think this situation is one where it makes a lot of sense. If GM's refuse to use the offer sheet option, I don't even understand why it's permitted. Don't be afraid of poacher's, Garth!