The Habs had until Monday afternoon at 5 PM EST to determine the fate of
their 19 restricted free agents. They either had to issue a qualifying
offer before the deadline to retain their rights or let them walk to
unrestricted free agency on Sunday. Carey Price had his offer in hand last
week when the team filed for arbitration while the club announced that ten
others were given offers.
There were no real surprises among the players qualified. They are as
Forwards: Lars Eller, Andreas Engqvist, Blake Geoffrion, Aaron Palushaj, and Ryan White
Defencemen: Raphael Diaz, Alexei Emelin, Brendon Nash, P.K. Subban,
and Frederic St. Denis
As a result of the non-tendered offers, the Hamilton Bulldogs are likely to
look a whole lot different for the upcoming 2012-13 campaign. Players
failing to receive an offer were:
Forwards: Hunter Bishop, Michael Blunden, Andrew Conboy,
Olivier Fortier, Dany Masse, Petteri Nokelainen, and Robert Slaney
Defencemen: Mark Mitera
As a result of this, the Habs’ projected signed list will sit at 41 out of a
maximum of 50 assuming all players qualified sign deals; there have been
rumblings of multiple Swedish teams looking to secure the services of Engqvist.
Click here for a closer look at the 50-contract situation. Montreal
retains the rights to the unqualified players until the free agency period opens
up on Sunday and can still sign these players to amounts below their qualifying
offers (although that is highly unlikely as most of their offers were pretty low
in the first place).
Receiving a qualifying offer does not preclude a player from receiving and
signing an offer sheet with another team. The lone exception here is Price
who, as a result of the Habs exercising their right to take him to club-elected
arbitration, is unable to negotiate with other clubs as a restricted free agent.