On the afternoon that NHL teams are required to file qualifying
offers for their restricted free agents, we have news of a number of
players who have been placed on waivers and will become UFA’s on July 1.
Jonathan Cheecho (Ottawa), Petteri Nokelainen and Jim Vandermeer
(Phoenix), Ville Koistinen (Florida) and Alex Kotalik of the Calgary
Flames were all placed on waivers, with their respective teams expecting
to buy out their contracts if they do indeed clear waivers. They could
also be picked up by another team, who would then be on the hook for the
rest of their contract.
The two most notable names on that list are Cheechoo and Kotalik.
Kotalik was nothing but a looming disappointment in New York and
Calgary last season, with just three goals with the Flames after he was
acquired from the Rangers via trade. If the Flames don’t buy him out, he
may be reassigned to the AHL or Europe.
For Cheechoo, it’s likely
he spends next season in the AHL. If the Senators do buy out his
contract, it’s going to be tough for the winger to get a one-way
contract after several years of struggling offensively. He had just five
goals in 61 games last season, just five years out from leading in the
NHL in goals scored.