Are they qualified? A list of players who did and didn’t receive qualifying offers

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At this point, you should be up to date regarding the biggest unrestricted and restricted free agents for 2011. The restricted free agent situations are more complicated than unrestricted ones because the NHL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement gives teams a few advantages to keep their players until they reach the age of 27. Offer sheets, arbitration hearings and qualifying offers all make the restricted process more convoluted than the straightforward (but often riskier) process of targeting unrestricted free agents.

To spare you the legal and financial jargon, an NHL team must hand a pending restricted free agent a qualifying offer in order to retain his negotiating rights. Those offers include a marginal raise from the player’s 2010-11 salary and allow teams to match offer sheets from other teams and possibly file for arbitration if the two sides hit a wall in regard to contract extensions.

Today was the big day for qualifying offers. The gang at HFBoards.com compiled a comprehensive list of who was given a qualifying offer and who wasn’t. Let’s take a look at the full list of players who received qualifying offers first, according to that list.

(Big thanks to Benjamin Wendorf from Arctic Ice for the link. This is a large list, so if you notice any errors, please let us know in the comments. Any updates will be noted within this list, even if they don’t come from HFBoards.com.)

QUALIFIED PLAYERS

ANAHEIM: Dan Sexton, Nick Bonino; Patrick Maroon.

BOSTON: Brad Marchand, RW.

BUFFALO: Nathan Gerbe, C; Marc-Andre Gragnani, D; Andrej Sekera, D; Jhonas Enroth, G; Mike Weber, D.

CALGARY: Leland Irving, G; Brendan Mikkelson, D.

CAROLINA: Brandon Sutter, C; Derek Joslin, D; Bobby Sanguinetti, D; Brett Sutter, LW; Brett Bellemore, D; Oskar Osala, LW (Signed in KHL).

CHICAGO: Michael Frolik, RW; Chris Campoli, D; Viktor Stalberg, LW.

COLORADO: Kyle Cumiskey, D; Ryan Wilson, D; David Jones, RW; Ryan OByrne, D; T.J. Galiardi, LW; Kevin Porter, C.

COLUMBUS: Michael Blunden, RW; Marc Methot, D.

DETROIT: Logan Pyett, D; Jordan Pearce, G; Francis Pare, D.

FLORIDA: Mike Santorelli, C; Shawn Matthias, C; Marc Cheverie, G; Mike Duco, RW; Kenndal McArdle, LW; Tyler Plante, G; Michael Caruso, D.

LOS ANGELES: Brad Richardson, C; Andrew Campbell, D; Marc-Andre Cliche, RW; Richard Clune, RW; Drew Doughty, D; Corey Elkins, LW; Johan Fransson, D; Bud Holloway, C; Trevor Lewis, RW; Alec Martinez, D; David Meckler, F; Patrick Mullen, D; Jeff Zatkoff, G.

MINNESOTA: Darroll Powe, C; James Sheppard, C; Casey Wellman, C; Colton Gillies, C; Jarod Palmer, F; Justin Falk, D; Jeff Penner, D.

MONTREAL: Ryan White, RW; Mathieu Carle, D; Josh Gorges, D; Yannick Weber, D; Ryan Russell, F; Frederic St-Denis, D; Kyle Klubertanz, D (Signed in Sweden).

NASHVILLE: Nick Spaling, C; Matt Halischuk, RW; Sergei Kostitsyn, LW; Shea Weber, D; Linus Klasen, F; Andreas Thuresson, F; Chris Mueller, F.

NEW JERSEY: Matt Corrente, D; Vladimir Zharkov, RW; Alexander Vasyunov, LW; Mark Fraser, D; Jeff Frazee, G; Maxim Noreau, D; Nathan Perkovich, RW; Matt Taormina, D; Steve Zalewski, F.

NY ISLANDERS: Josh Bailey, C; Ty Wishart, D; Blake Comeau, RW; Michael Haley, LW; Jesse Joensuu, LW; Dylan Reese, D.

NY RANGERS: Ryan Callahan, RW; Brandon Dubinsky, LW; Artem Anisimov, C; Brian Boyle, C; Michael Sauer, D; Stu Bickel, D; Chad Johnson, G; Pavel Valentenko, D; John Mitchell, C; Matt McCue, F; Tysen Dowzak, D; Brodie Dupont, F.

PHILADELPHIA: Jakub Voracek, RW; Jon Kalinski, LW; Wayne Simmonds, RW.

PHOENIX: Marc Pouliot, C. Update: Keith Yandle, Kyle Turris, Mikkel Boedker, Brett MacLean and Viktor Tikhonov were also retained. (H/T to Yotes Girl.)

PITTSBURGH: Dustin Jeffrey, F; Brad Thiessen, G.

SAN JOSE: Benn Ferriero, LW; John McCarthy, LW; Jamie McGinn, LW; Frazer McLaren, LW.

ST. LOUIS: T.J. Oshie, RW; Ryan Reaves, RW; Ben Bishop, G.

TAMPA BAY: Bruno Gervais, D; Steven Stamkos, C; Scott Jackson, D; Johan Harju, LW (Signed in Sweden); Riku Helenius, G (Signed in Finland); Ted Purcell, LW.

TORONTO: Tyler Bozak, C; Luca Caputi, LW; Matt Lashoff, D; Clarke MacArthur, LW; Luke Schenn, D; Greg Scott, F; Ben Scrivens, G.

VANCOUVER: Victor Oreskovich, RW; Maxim Lapierre, C; Jannik Hansen, RW.

WASHINGTON: Karl Alzner, D; Francois Bouchard, C; Troy Brouwer, RW; Mathieu Perreault, C; Semyon Varlamov, G.

WINNIPEG: Andrew Ladd, LW; Blake Wheeler, RW.

Again, keep in mind that the aforementioned players haven’t agreed to new deals; their teams just expressed interest in keeping the lines of communication open. Perhaps it might be most interesting to study the list of players who weren’t given qualifying offers, though. Here are some suddenly unrestricted free agents, also from that list.

PLAYERS WHO DID NOT RECIEVE QOs (WILL BECOME UFAs)

ANAHEIM: Kyle Chipchura, C ; Ryan Hillier, LW; John de Gray, D; J.P. Levasseur, G.

BOSTON: Matt Dalton, G; Anton Khudobin, G.

BUFFALO: Felix Schutz, F.

CALGARY: John Armstrong, F; Gord Baldwin, D; Hugo Carpentier, F (Signed with LNAH); Josh Meyers, D; Matt Pelech, D.

CAROLINA: Troy Bodie, RW; Jiri Tlusty, LW.

CHICAGO: Jake Dowell, C.

COLORADO: Philippe Dupuis, C; Brian Elliott, G.

COLUMBUS: Sami Lepisto, D; Anton Stralman, D; Tomas Kana, C (Signed in Czech Republic); Petr Kalus, RW (Signed in Finland); Michael Ratchuk, D; Gustaf Wesslau,G (Signed in Sweden).

EDMONTON: J.F Jacques, LW; Zack Stortini, RW.

FLORIDA: Nicklas Bergfors, RW; Steve Bernier, RW; Byron Bitz, RW.

LOS ANGELES: Rob Bordson, RW.

MINNESOTA: Patrick O’Sullivan, C.

MONTREAL: Alexandre Picard, D; Tom Pyatt, RW; Benoit Pouliot, LW; Dustin Boyd, C; Nigel Dawes, LW.

NASHVILLE: Dan Gendur, F; Mark Santorelli, F.

NEW JERSEY: Anssi Salmela, D.

NY RANGERS: Matt Gilroy, D; Justin Soryal, F; Devin DiDiomete, F.

OTTAWA: Update Cody Bass, Jason Bailey and Ryan Potulny

PHILADELPHIA: Dan Carcillo, LW.

PITTSBURGH: Tyler Kennedy, RW.

SAN JOSE: Patrick Davis, F; Kevin Henderson, F; Carter Hutton, G; Joe Loprieno, D; Nick Schaus, D; Mike Swift, F.

ST. LOUIS: Matt D’Agostini, RW.

TAMPA BAY: Mike Lundin, D; Matt Smaby, D; Alex Berry, F; Stefano Giliati, F; Kevin Quick, D; Vladimir Mihalik, D; Levi Nelson, F; Paul Szccechura, C.

TORONTO: Christian Hanson, C; Brayden Irwin, F; Fabiann Brunnstrom, LW.

VANCOUVER: Lee Sweatt, D.

WASHINGTON: Josh Godfrey, D; Joe Finley, D; Trevor Bruess, F.

WINNIPEG: Rob Schremp, C; Anthony Stewart, RW.

(Note: declining to provide a qualifying offer doesn’t eliminate a player’s former team from signing them to a new deal, though.)

We touched on some of the most interesting omissions, but it might be most interesting to follow the paths of Kennedy and Carcillo. There might be some interest for the likes of Gilroy, O’Sullivan, Lundin and Dowell as well. Meanwhile, Dallas Stars fans probably smile wistfully at the fall of once-fawned-upon import Brunnstrom.

So there you have it. We’ll keep you updated about signings big and small as the free agent frenzy rapidly approaches.

Okposo to fans: ‘Thinking about your support brings a tear to my eye’

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In a lengthy and heartfelt letter, Kyle Okposo thanked the hockey community – especially but not only Buffalo Sabres fans and teammates – for their support after his hospitalization.

Okposo also shared some personal details about how a seemingly innocent hit affected his sleep and caused alarming weight loss, dropping him below 200 lbs. for the first time since he was 17. He said he checked into a hospital expecting to get help sleeping, only to go to ICU after a negative reaction to medication.

As scary as that experience was, it helped him put his career and life in perspective. Okposo also realized just how much fans, teammates, and people associated with the sport can help each other in times of need.

It’s a really great letter and worth reading in full (especially considering his praise for new Sabres management), but here’s one of the more inspiring excerpts:

When I turned my phone on, I had 500 messages waiting for me. Current players, former players, former coaches – everyone reached out. Even now, fans see me in Minnesota or Buffalo and say, ‘I’m just really glad you’re doing OK.’ It’s overwhelming, and it makes me proud to be a part of the hockey community. We’re a tight-knit group and we stick together. Thinking about your support brings a tear to my eye.

The messages from my Sabres teammates meant a lot in particular. I’ve only played with those guys for one year, with Matt Moulson being the exception, and we didn’t have the type of season that we wanted. The fact that all of them were so supportive through this shows that the bond between teammates really does transcend what happens on the ice.

Okposo noted that he appreciated playing in “Da Beauty League” last week, even though his team got “whacked.”

Read more about him being involved in that here, and how happy Zach Parise and others were to see him play in this article. Okposo also reaffirms the belief that he’ll be ready to go for Sabres training camp in that letter.

No surgery for Dumoulin, who broke hand during Penguins’ Cup run

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If you’re feeling jealous of Brian Dumoulin for signing a robust (if fair) contract extension with the Pittsburgh Penguins, take heart: at least he earned it. He even checked the “Hockey players are insanely tough” box during the Penguins’ latest Stanley Cup run.

MORE: Dumoulin signs for six years, with a $4.1 million cap hit.

The 25-year-old revealed that a David Savard slapper broke (or “damaged?) his right hand in Game 5 of that first-round matchup. After that, his hand would heal up, only “I’d do a cross-check then it would break again,” as he told Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Dumoulin seemed to deal with that as the postseason went along, but the good news – at least as he claims – is that it’s all healed and he won’t require surgery.

“It was tough to play with it, but obviously everybody had injuries,” Dumoulin said, via Mackey. “It’s all healed up now. They were deciding on surgery or not at the end of the season, but doctors saw a little bit of healing. We gave it about three weeks, and I kind of have been testing it out the last week. I’ve skated, and there have been no problems. I’m happy about it.”

With any “no surgery needed” story, there are us hand-wringers who wonder if that will merely increase the odds of future re-breaks.

That, not to mention years of taxing schooling, is why doctors are doctors, though, so this seems like a mostly positive bit of information regarding another Penguins player who fought through injuries during the playoffs.

Considering how many Penguins players were sidelined, especially on defense, it makes Dumoulin’s toughness that much easier to appreciate. For all we know, losing him might have been the last straw for that thinned out group.

Instead, the Penguins are repeat champions, and Dumoulin enjoys long-term security.

If his play on the ice didn’t already convince you that he earned that extension, perhaps this detail did.

Islanders’ D getting crowded with four-year deal for Adam Pelech

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If nothing else, quantity probably won’t be much of an issue for the New York Islanders’ defense in 2017-18.

GM Garth Snow locked down another blueliner on Monday, as he signed Adam Pelech to a four-year contract. The deal is worth $1.6 million per season ($6.4M overall), according to Newsday’s Arthur Staple.

Pelech, 22, played 44 games at the NHL level in 2016-17, collecting 10 points and struggling from an analytics standpoint. He also appeared in nine games with the Islanders in 2015-16.

Staple notes that this could make for a logjam – or, to put a positive spin on it, make for a lot of competition – particularly if the Isles can strike a deal with Calvin de Haan soon. If that pans out, they’d have eight defensemen who would need to go through waivers.

On the bright side, the Islanders’ defense looks respectable on paper, and that’s assuming that Pelech doesn’t take a step forward. If he does, this could be another respectable, under-the-radar move by Snow.

At the moment, it mainly seems like adding depth and flexibility, which isn’t the worst thing, either.

Plenty of opportunity on revamped Blackhawks defense

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For almost a decade, Niklas Hjalmarsson was a mainstay on the Blackhawks’ back end, quietly providing some of the most effective defense in the league.

But with Hjalmarsson in Arizona now, traded to the Coyotes for the younger-though-less-proven Connor Murphy, it remains to be seen how Chicago’s blue line will roll out next season.

In addition to Hjalmarsson, the ‘Hawks also bid adieu to Brian Campbell, Johnny Oduya, and Trevor van Riemsdyk this offseason.

Add up all the good-byes, and that’s a lot of minutes to replace.

“We’re going to see when we’re putting the pairs together, whether we’re going to reunite [Duncan Keith] and [Brent Seabrook] or look for some balance,” head coach Joel Quenneville said, per CSN Chicago. “There are a lot of options. We’ll look forward to that and sorting it out.”

The way it looks right now, the top four will be comprised of Keith, Seabrook, Murphy, and Michal Kempny. That’s two left shots — Keith and Kempny — and two righties — Seabrook and Murphy.

Read more: After major changes, Bowman thinks Blackhawks are in ‘good spot’

The bottom pairing, though, is anyone’s guess. Newly signed Czech defenseman Jan Rutta is in the mix. But so too are Jordan Oesterle, Gustav Forsling, Ville Pokka, Erik Gustafsson, Viktor Svedberg, and possibly even Luc Snuggerud.

Once training camp starts, it’ll be up to those young players to prove themselves.

“Just the amount of opportunity that is in front of me just drives me even more,” said Oesterle, whom the ‘Hawks signed July 1. “I want to be here and force their hand to keep me here.”

Veteran Michal Rozsival is also under contract for next season. However, he turns 39 in September, and with all that youth champing at the bit, the Blackhawks will be hoping they won’t need him much, if at all.

Chicago’s defense in 2016-17, ranked by total time on ice