The New York Islanders announced today that they have tended qualifying offers to all five of their Restricted Free Agents. Great, so what does that mean?
The New York Islanders took their first steps into free agency by locking up their RFA’s with qualifying offers. The first step NHL teams need to take in order to keep a player’s rights.
That’s all this is. Before we get into numbers. Qualifying offers aren’t anything binding. It’s just a way to ensure that the New York Islanders keep the rights of first refusal with their RFAs.
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The Right of First Refusal
Other teams can still talk to their RFAs. They can every try to sign them to an offer sheet as of July 1. But with the qualifying offer, the Islanders get the right of first refusal. They get to match the offer or accept the compensation in draft picks coming their way.
So, for example, if the Colorado Avalanche decide they want to offer sheet Calvin de Haan and give him a $4 million deal. The Isles could match that or take the first and third round pick from the Avalanche in compensation.
Offer sheets don’t need to be signed by the players they’ve been tended too. But if the Islanders don’t give them a qualifying offer the players become unrestricted free agents. As was the case with Loic Leduc, Jesse Graham, Matt Finn and Stephon Williams.
Players don’t usually sign them on account of how little of an increase they represent over their previous year’s salary. According to the NHL CBA (see Article 10.2.a (ii)), a qualifying offer must go up by the following amounts:
"110% of the base salary if the base salary is less than or equal to $660,000 or 105% of the base salary if the base salary is greater than $660,000 or less than $1,000,000. However, this qualifying offer cannot exceed $1,000,000.100% of the base salary if the base salary is equal to or greater than $1,000,000."
For the four Islanders RFAs in question, the qualifying offer amounts to. Thanks to Cap Friendly and their fantastic Qualifying Offer Calculator for the numbers.
*$650,00 0 is the league minimum
It was a no-brainer to retain most of these players. Pelech was protected in the expansion draft. Letting him walk as a UFA would have been the strangest thing to happen to this franchise since signing P.A. Parenteau in free agency and then waiving him three months later.
Calvin de Haan wasn’t protected, but he’s seemingly the Isles biggest defensive bargaining chip since Travis Hamonic was traded to the Calgary Flames. Letting him go as a UFA would be a fireable offense, you’d think.
You’d have to believe that Gibson is now the team’s third-string goaltender since Jean-Francois Berube was drafted by the Vegas Golden Knights.
Connor Jones is too good for the ECHL and just seems to be not quite good enough for the NHL. The undrafted center from BC fills in the Bridgeport roster well.
None of this is sexy. It’s just part of what goes on in the ongoing lifecycle of the 2016-17 NHL season. The names they decided to give offers to vs. those they didn’t makes sense. When’s the last time you thought about Loic Leduc? That’s what I thought.