Tag: qualifying offers

Dustin Brown, Mark Fayne

Devils give qualifying offer to Mark Fayne, other RFAs may not be so lucky

According to Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice, Devils GM Lou Lamoriello has made a qualifying offer to potential restricted free agent defenseman Mark Fayne. That means New Jersey wants to keep Fayne in the fold and after how he performed through the playoffs helping to shut down some of the East’s top scorers, he’s earned that much.

Gulitti also reports that Fayne may be one of the few potential Devils RFAs to receive qualifying offers. Lamoriello didn’t say whether forwards Vladimir Zharkov and Kory Nagy, defenseman Matt Corrente, and goalie Timo Pielmeier might receive the same treatment.

Fayne is the lone one of the bunch to spend all season in New Jersey helping balance out the blue line. Fayne finished the regular season with four goals and 13 assists and added another three assists in the postseason helping the Devils reach the Stanley Cup finals.

Predators sign Sergei Kostitsyn to one-year, $2.5M deal

Sergei Kostitsyn

Sergei Kostitsyn’s last contract with the Nashville Predators was a classic example of two sides needing something and coming to a fairly easy compromise. Kostitsyn’s career was in a tailspin after some ugly times with the Montreal Canadiens; it seemed like he had one foot in the NHL and the other foot in the KHL (or worse, the minors). The Predators badly needed a creative offensive talent to accompany a roster mostly built around worker bees with defense ranking as the first thing on their minds.

Maybe Kostitsyn has some warts on his game, but there should be little doubt that the deal worked out nicely for both sides. Kostitsyn reclaimed his place as a useful NHL-level forward while the Predators benefited from far and away the best offensive output of his short career as he scored 23 goals and 50 points.

This looked like the beginning of a beautiful friendship until GM David Poile’s qualifying offer snafu threw things out of whack. Poile easily re-signed some less prominent players who didn’t receive qualifying offers on Thursday, but it seemed like the Kostitsyn situation could get messy (some might say that things tend to get messy when Sergei is involved).

Ultimately, it seems like things could have been much worse, though. The Predators reportedly signed Kostitsyn to a reasonable one-year, $2.5 million contract to avoid further headaches. That seems like a slam dunk on first impact, but one must remember that $2.5 million means far more to Nashville than it does to some of the league’s more freewheeling teams. Even so, Jeremy Gover agrees that it was an acceptable deal in the grand scheme of things.

Kostitsyn deserved a raise.

But the raise he got was a lot more substantial than what he would have gotten had the Preds filed the paperwork correctly. Any restricted free agent (with Kostitsyn’s pay scale) given a qualifying offer is set to see a 10% raise. Instead, what he got was a 450% raise.

This begs the question: is one good season worth $2.5 million? Patric Hornqvist had one good season back in 2009-10 when he scored a team high 30 goals and he was rewarded with a new three year deal worth $9.2 million total. So, if Kostitsyn signed for less than that, is it really that bad?


In the end, I’d have to say this is a good deal for Nashville. Sure, since they could’ve gotten one more season out of him at far less (had the ruling gone in the team’s favor), it stings a little. But, at the same time, given what his value would’ve been on the open market (and what Hornqvist got in a similar situation), a short-term deal at $2.5 million doesn’t seem that bad.

The best part, to me, is the term. A player like Kostitsyn might allow his mind to wander if he received a five-year contract, but dangling the carrot of another contract year in front of his face should keep him motivated through an 82-game season. The 24-year-old forward is still a ways away from unrestricted free agency, but maybe he could complete his restricted years with Nashville if he comes through in 2011-12 like he did in 2010-11.

Predators continue to work through RFA offer sheet mess, sign four players

Nashville Predators v Vancouver Canucks - Game Five

General Manager David Poile and the Nashville Predators took a huge step towards solving their restricted free agent problems this offseason by coming to terms with Matt Halischuk, Nick Spaling, Chris Mueller, and Cal O’Reilly on Thursday afternoon. The four players are all in the middle of the qualifying offers dispute that has been scheduled to be heard by an arbitrator on Friday, July 8th and Wednesday July 13th. Now all that’s left of the potentially disastrous situation for Poile is one player: Sergei Kostitsyn.

Really, was there any doubt that Kostitsyn would continue to be in the middle of this mess?

For fans in Nashville, some of the best news is they didn’t have to extremely overpay any of the players in question. From the Nashville Predators official release:

Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has signed forwards Matt Halischuk and Nick Spaling to two-year contracts, and forwards Chris Mueller and Cal O’Reilly to one-year deals. Halischuk’s contract is worth $1.425 million, paying him $600,000 in 2011-12 and $825,000 in 2012-13 while Spaling’s contract is worth $2.1 million, paying him $1 million in 2011-12 and $1.1 million in 2012-13. O’Reilly’s contract will see him earn $1.05 million in 2011-12 and Mueller’s two-way contract will see him paid $550,000 at the NHL level and $65,000 at the AHL level.


Yes, each player received a little more than they would have if they were in a normal restricted free agency situation. The worst fears were that they’d have to grossly overpay like Dale Tallon and the Blackhawks were forced to do with their restricted free agents in 2009 when they had problems faxing the offers in a timely manner. They ended up overpaying their six restricted free agents to the extent that none of the players are still with the organization. For that matter, the GM lost his job as well.

David Poile has done his best to rectify a tough situation, but the heavy lifting is still ahead of him. It’s no secret that the Predators are a playoff contender that gets the job done with great defense and stellar netminding. Unfortunately, their weakness is both skill and depth amongst the forward unit. By signing Halischuk, Spaling, and O’Reilly the Predators have locked up three forwards NHL forwards for next season to address the depth. But in the skill of Kostitsyn, the Predators still need to lock up their best offensive player from a season ago.

…he’s taken some of the anxiety out of the air, but Sergei Kostitsyn is perhaps the most critical of the bunch, a winger fit in reasonably well in a prominent role. Even if his goal-scoring in 2010-11 was fluky (which it was), he could be a 40-50 point guy if he plays on a major line all season, and the Predators are painfully short of such talent.


Obviously it’s important for a team to re-sign their best offensive producer. But for a team like the Predators that is already struggling to find high level scorers, it’s critical to their success. Kostitsyn led the Predators with 23 goals and 50 points a season ago (tied with Martin Erat). The numbers may not jump off the score sheet to the average fan—but those are the best they have in Nashville. Take him out of the line-up and a weak offensive team becomes that much weaker. The team would be able to take the money from his contract pursue another free agent, but who would they sign at this point in the offseason? It’s no secret that there aren’t many decent free agents left on the open market.

It would be easiest for the Predators to reach an agreement before the arbitrator hears the NHLPA’s grievance over the next few days. If they can’t reach an agreement and Kostitsyn wins his case, he’d become an unrestricted free agent available to all 30 teams.

We’ll keep you posted as the story continues to develop.

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

Left Wing Dan Carcillo
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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.)


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.


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


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.

Penguins bits: Crosby and Malkin make progress, team doesn’t give Kennedy qualifying offer

Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malki

The 2010-11 season was a joyous one, by most accounts, for the NHL. That being said, one of its most marketable franchises suffered devastating injuries as the Pittsburgh Penguins lost Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin for about half of the campaign. Their health will be one of the nail-biting storylines of this off-season, but fans of the game should feel heartened … today, at least.

Head coach Dan Bylsma went as far as to say that Malkin “probably is already ready to go” while he said that Crosby has been working out twice per day. It might be easier to map out Malkin’s good days and bad days than Crosby’s since there seems to be a bit more knowledge about knee injuries than concussions. Naturally, we’ll keep you updated as the summer goes on and training camp approaches.


While  Crosby and Malkin usually shoulder the kind of scoring burden that was more familiar to the best players of the often top-heavy Dead Puck Era, the team’s scrappy third line can be a difference-maker, too. Most of the time, the common trio of Jordan Staal, Matt Cooke and Tyler Kennedy made their biggest impact by cycling the puck and keeping it away from opponents. That being said, that group occasionally scored some pretty big goals during the last few seasons.

Fair or not, there was the feeling that Kennedy often missed golden opportunities by flubbing shots or missing the net altogether. Yet when Crosby and Malkin went down, Kennedy and others were forced into bigger scoring roles and the diminutive center responded with the best season of his four-year NHL career. He generated career highs in goals (21), assists (24), points (45), shots (234) and time on ice per game (14:32 minutes on average).

Kennedy took advantage of an increase in opportunities (and the natural motivation from a contract year) to earn himself some cash. The free agent market tends to be pretty friendly to 20-goal scorers with a Stanley Cup ring, so perhaps that explains why the Penguins decided not to hand Kennedy a qualifying offer today.

On face value, it seems like an absurd decision; it would only take an offer a “small percentage” higher than Kennedy’s $725K salary from the 2010-11 season to make it happen. Yet when you add context to the decision, it makes a bit more sense: a qualifying offer does not equal a contract; it would just give the Penguins more options if they wanted to retain him.

Simply put, Kennedy probably wants more money than the Penguins are willing to give him, so maybe Pittsburgh GM Ray Shero decided it wasn’t worth the trouble. Honestly, I think that the price tag to get that negotiating advantage is so small that it was worth a shot, but maybe Shero & Co. simply don’t want him back. Either way, the day of Kennedy licking his stick in a Penguins uniform appear to be over. (Then again, they might just sign him to an altogether new deal, so we’ll just need to wait and see.)

Of course, the natural afterthought is to wonder if Pittsburgh’s willingness to part with a solid winger – an area of weakness over the last few seasons – indicates that they might have their eyes on the greatest winger in their franchise history. (That would be Jaromir Jagr, by the way.)

We could find out as soon as Friday if that is indeed the case.