Author: NBC Sports

Deadline for qualifying offers is today; Ladd, Niemi safe with Hawks

Today is the deadline for teams to give qualifying offers to their
restricted free agents, otherwise they become unrestricted free agents
on July 1.

This year, we’re expected a large number of RFA’s to
hit the open market this week as teams face some salary cap and roster

The qualifying offers are already starting to to pour
in, but teams have until 5 p.m. EDT today to get the offers filed with
the NHL. Not risking making the same mistake as last year, the Chicago
Blackhawks have already filed their offers for Andrew Ladd, Antti Niemi
and Niklas Hjalmarsson.

It was going to be interesting to see how
Chicago handled their RFA’s, and Stan Bowman has gone ahead and decided
he needed to keep the three RFA’s at the top of the Hawks’ list.

the RFA’s not receiving offers by teams are minor league players or
prospects. Sometimes, an NHL player isn’t tendered and hits the open
market and joins the pool of free agents. We’ll have that full list
available for you later tonight.

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    Flyers made offer for Marty Turco


    Some interesting developments this morning as ESPN is reporting,
    several times and by several different mediums, that the Philadelphia
    Flyers have reached out and made an offer to impending free agent
    goaltender Marty Turco. Supposedly the offer was for $2 million a year, a
    far cry from the $5.8 million he made last season and certainly not the
    paycut he was expecting to take.

    When Turco was reached, he
    acknowledged the offer before saying he’s willing to wait and see what
    the free agency market shakes out to be.

    This doesn’t sound right,
    does it?

    Technically, what the Flyers just did was tampering a
    potential free agent. Technically, Marty Turco still belongs to the
    Dallas Stars and other teams cannot enter into negotiations with a
    player who is under contract with another team.

    ESPN’s Pierre
    LeBrun shakes this off and says it’s o.k., since the Dallas Stars “gave
    permission” to the Flyers to make an offer to Turco. I still don’t
    understand how that would work, since the Flyers wouldn’t be able to
    sign him to that offer anyways, since he’s still under contract by the

    One option would be that if Turco did agree with the
    offer, then the Stars would likely trade his rights to Philadelphia in
    exchange for a conditional draft pick. Even if that were the case, it
    still feels as if the two teams are dancing on a fine line with

    Talking with the media on Saturday after the draft, GM
    Paul Holmgren was careful not to say anything that could be regarded as
    tampering. When asked if he could negotiate with a player’s agent if he
    had permission to and he was particularly vague about the answer.

    going to be interesting to see how this shakes out. As far as this
    actual issue stands, it doesn’t appear to be anything other than talk.
    Despite the paycut he’ll have to take, Turco is going to make more than
    $2 million next season; I can understand why he turned down that offer.

    Americans not surprised by their presence in the 2010 draft


    Campbell2.jpgFor a draft that was mostly void of big trades and heavy on rumors, the
    story of the draft began to focus on the American players that were
    being selected with greater frequency as the weekend progressed. After
    the first round concluded, there was some confusion as to whether a
    record was tied or broken for Americans drafted in the first round,
    before USA Hockey sent out a release stating that yes, a record 11
    American players were drafted in the first round.

    According to
    their release, USA Hockey does not use birthplace criteria for
    considering a player American, but instead uses his developmental roots.
    The sticking point in this case was Cam Fowler, a Canadian-born player
    claiming dual citizenship who grew up playing in America. With that
    official statement, 2010 became a banner year for hockey in the United

    It was fitting, coming just months after the United States
    stunned the Canadians in the World Juniors, putting an exclamation
    point on the rise of American hockey over the past 20 years. When the
    NHL started expanding south, placing teams in San Jose, Los Angeles,
    Anaheim, Dallas, Florida, Atlanta and Nashville — this was going to be
    the eventual outcome.

    Young kids, growing up with hockey in their
    area and never knowing that “hockey isn’t supposed to be played in the
    south” develop their talents and an early age and then move up the ranks
    to the US Development Program which has started to produce some of the
    best players in hockey in recent years.

    Toronto GM Brian Burke
    says it’s not just those NHL teams that are making an impact on these
    young players, but
    the emergence of minor league teams as well.

    “We put teams in these little towns and little cities in Louisiana
    and Texas,” Burke said.

    “Youth hockey springs up around them. I think that’s been just as
    important in getting kids to play as the NTDP team has been.”

    In all, the United States finished with 60 players drafted in 2010,
    just 30 behind Canada. Of course, the ratio of players drafted to a
    country’s population will always favor Canada, but it’s a great sign for
    a sport in which American players have always been a strong minority.

    Now, not only are Americans being drafted but some of the top players
    in draft hail from the United States. Players are coming from
    California, Texas and other areas generally not considered “hotbeds of
    hockey development” as these youth programs gain more strength and more
    talent over the years. These players being drafted now grew up with
    hockey in their area, and they find nothing unusual about so many
    Americans being taken in the draft now.

    They also had nothing but praise for USA Hockey and the NTDP, the
    program that has done so much to develop these young players into some
    of the best talent in the draft. These American players that have been
    together for the past few years and are now going their separate ways
    formed a bond during their time with the NTDP, which was on full display
    while the team won the IIHF World Juniors. Colorado Avalache
    third-round pick Michael Bournival says that’s a bond that will never be

    “I’ll talk to those guys the rest of my life,” Bournival said. “Every
    single one of those players is like a brother to me, and that will stay
    like that for the rest of my life. I have no doubt about that.”

    “Being a part of this last year, where the United States really broke
    out in the world, from 2009 under-18’s all the way up to this last
    under-18, USA hockey is really getting on the map. It’s an honor to have
    been a part of that and this draft year is great as well, and I’m
    excited just to be a part of it.”

    Every American player we talked with spoke with obvious pride of how
    the sport has grown in the United States, and none were surprised at the
    amount of Americans drafted this year.

    As the game of hockey continues to grow in areas such as Texas,
    Florida and California we’ll continue to see more and more Americans
    taken high in the draft. This past year was a record year for USA
    Hockey, and you can expect coming years to be just the same.