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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 follows:
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:
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.