After hoisting the Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins earlier this month, Justin Schultz could soon be joining another NHL team.
The Penguins didn’t extend Schultz a qualifying offer Monday, which means he becomes an unrestricted free agent.
Already facing a cap crunch, Pittsburgh, had it opted to give Schultz a qualifying offer, would have to match his entire $3.9 million salary from his one-year contract in 2015-16.
The Penguins acquired Schultz from Edmonton just prior to the trade deadline, with GM Jim Rutherford praising his offensive upside, while admitting Schultz needed work in the defensive end.
Schultz played in 15 playoff games for Pittsburgh, adding an assist in the Cup-clinching win. However, it was shortly after winning the championship that it appeared his price tag would be too much for the Penguins.
Related: The Penguins are playing Schultz to his strengths
The Calgary Flames did not offer the 26-year-old Joe Colborne a qualifying offer, making him an unrestricted free agent. He hit career highs in goals (19) and points (44) — also with a career-high shooting percentage of 19 per cent.
He wrapped up a two-year deal, worth $1.275 million.
The Flames also didn’t qualify center Josh Jooris and goalie Joni Ortio.
Ortio split the 2015-16 season between the Flames and their AHL affiliate, the Stockton Heat. With Calgary, he had a 7-9-5 record with a .902 save percentage, and was waived to go down to the minors, where he also struggled.
In a bid to bolster their goaltending situation, the Flames acquired Brian Elliott from the St. Louis Blues at the draft.
Once the sixth overall pick in the 2010 NHL Draft, Brett Connolly didn’t receive a qualifying offer from the Boston Bruins, after scoring nine goals and a single-season career high 25 points in 71 games with this season.
He was playing on a one-year, $1.025 million contract.
He struggled to produce offense even though he spent long stretches playing with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand last season. Still, he was the sixth overall pick in the 2010 draft and the Bruins gave up two second-round picks to Tampa Bay for him less than two years ago, so the move is somewhat unexpected.
Another interesting decision from the Bruins, who claimed Landon Ferraro off waivers from the Detroit Red Wings in November. The 24-year-old forward, on a one-year deal worth $600,000 for 2015-16, had five goals and 10 points — all with the Bruins as a member of their bottom-six group of forwards — this past season.
After getting claimed by Boston but before he played a game for that franchise, Bruins coach Claude Julien described Ferraro as a “reliable” player.
Jim Benning, at his first draft as the Canucks general manager, used a second-round pick to acquire Linden Vey from the L.A. Kings, but the Canucks did not qualify him Monday.
That doesn’t come as much of a surprise, with Vey reportedly expecting the Canucks not to make him a qualifying offer.
The 24-year-old Vey scored four goals and 15 points in 41 games this past season, after he was recalled from AHL Utica.
Prior to the beginning of this past season, Vey was put on waivers and eventually sent down to the minors, before getting recalled. In his first season with the Canucks, he entered training camp and was immediately given first-unit power play duties. He ended up scoring 10 goals and 24 points that season.
Off the ice, however, Vey has been troubled by family turmoil. Last month, it was reported in The Province newspaper that Vey’s father, Curtis, was set to go to trail on charges of conspiracy to murder his wife.
The Ducks acquired Brandon Pirri from the Florida Panthers at the trade deadline. A year removed from a 22-goal season in Florida, Pirri then had three goals and five points in nine games with the Ducks.
From the Orange County Register:
Pirri is arbitration eligible and with 14 combined goals with the Ducks and Panthers last season, he could get a bump up from his $975,000 salary and the Ducks appear to want that slot open for a cheaper, more multi-dimensional forward.
— Brandon Gormley
According to the Denver Post, the Colorado Avalanche didn’t tender a qualifying offer to 24-year-old defenseman Brandon Gormley, once a 13th overall pick of the Phoenix Coyotes in 2010.
He has been unable to turn that into an established position at the NHL level.
He struggled in Colorado, eventually getting put on waivers. He split time between the Avalanche and San Antonio Rampage in the minors.
According to the aforementioned report, the Avalanche also plan to buy out the contract of 36-year-old defenseman Brad Stuart.