There was some speculation that Shane O’Brien, after a tremendously
up and down season with the Canucks, would become a free agent this
summer. It was unknown at the time whether the Canucks would be willing
to keep the defenseman, after he had issues with his weight and attitude
at different parts of the season.
O’Brien stated after the season
that he’d like to remain in Vancouver, and now he’s got his wish. The
Canucks extended a qualifying offer worth $1.6 million to the
defenseman, keeping him for at least one more season with Vancouver.
just how much O’Brien loves the team — and especially the city — he’d
like to get a multi-year contract worked out as well. I’m sure the
Canucks will just wait and see how he performs this next season before
making any sort of commitment.
Ray Whitney could be a interesting target once free agency starts on
Friday. He’s an experienced and still skilled forward who put up 58
points last season with Carolina.
While the Canes attempted to
reach an agreement with Whitney and his agent this past week, it looks
as though Whitney will be testing the market this summer.
Rutherford is still optimistic he signs with the Canes. Per Canes Now:
“We’re keeping the door open and hoping that he’ll come back to us,”
The team and Whitney’s agent were supposedly nowhere near close
financially on a potential deal, so now the Hurricanes hope that Whitney
isn’t overwhelmed by a better offer elsewhere. With the free agent
market not all that great this summer, it’s likely Whitney will find a
better deal with another team.
The news on the qualifying offers being filed by teams across the NHL
starting to fly in, and here’s an update on some of the bigger names
given offers by their respective teams. This isn’t all the players that have been given offers, just a snapshot:
Ben Eager – Atlanta
Pavelec – Atlanta
Niclas Bergfors – Atlanta
Fleishmann – Washington
Jeff Shultz – Washington
Eric Fehr –
James Wisniewski – Anaheim
David Clarkson – New
Tyler Eckford – New Jersey
Nikolai Kulemin – Toronto
Hanson – Toronto
Perhaps the most surprising, and under the radar, news of this past
week was when Ducks GM Bob Murray revealed that the Ducks had given
forward Bobby Ryan a contract offer in the range of five-years, $20-$25
million — and that Ryan had reportedly turned that offer down.
supposedly put Ryan’s future with the team in doubt, as it’s unlikely
he’s worth more than $5 million a season as this point. Murray quelled
that speculation, however, stating that the team
will qualify Ryan before the RFA deadline today.
“We’re going to do what is right for the organization,” he said. “I’m
in no hurry to do anything whatsoever.”
When asked if he’ll match any offer sheet that could come Ryan’s way
or sit back and consider the amount, Murray flatly said, “If somebody
wants to give him an offer sheet, we have lots of space. We’ll match.”
Today, the Ducks did in fact send a qualifying offer to Ryan.
Negotiations will certainly continue, but it doesn’t appear that Murray
is in any rush to overpay for Ryan. They’ll keep working on an extension, but I don’t see the Ducks budging much from their original offer.
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.