Author: NBC Sports

2010 NHL Free Agency: Ray Whitney to test the market

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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.

GM Jim
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,”
Rutherford said.

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.

2010 NHL Free Agency: Qualifying offers update

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

Anaheims Ducks qualify Bobby Ryan, still working on contract extension

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.

Cheechoo, Kotalik among those placed on waivers

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.

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.