After an eventful past 10 days for the Calgary Flames, the business of hockey keeps chugging along. The club announced today that they’ve tendered qualifying offers to several pending restricted free agents.
Receiving qualifying offers are goaltenders Jon Gillies and David Rittich, defensemen Brett Kulak and Tyler Wotherspoon, and forwards Sam Bennett, Curtis Lazar, Micheal Ferland, Garnet Hathaway and Linden Vey. Not receiving offers, and becoming unrestricted free agents if not signed before July 1, are defensemen Ryan Culkin and Kenney Morrison, and forward Alex Chiasson.
Already out there, but Treliving confirmed no qualifying offer for Alex Chiasson, Ryan Culkin and Kenney Morrison. #Flames
— Aaron Vickers (@AAVickers) June 26, 2017
Some of the qualification decisions were blissfully simple for the Flames brass, while some were likely a challenge.
The decision to not qualify Culkin and Morrison probably comes down to one simple fact: neither really set the world on fire in their minor leagues during their entry level deals. Culkin struggled to stay healthy and wobbled between the AHL and ECHL over the past two seasons after nearly getting an NHL call-up during his first pro year, while Morrison was a frequent healthy scratch down the stretch for the Stockton Heat and never really seemed to knock on the NHL door.
Alex Chiasson’s situation is a bit more complex. Chiasson has arbitration rights due to his years of service in the NHL and so the Flames probably didn’t want to risk dealing with a pricey arbitration decision or have Chiasson simply accept his $840,000 qualifying offer. That’s not to say that Chiasson won’t be back, but it’ll be on a different term and scale than would be determined by an arbiter. This is the third time as Flames GM that Treliving has non-tendered a potential RFA to avoid an unfavourable arbitration decision, after Paul Byron and Joe Colborne.
Qualified players that do have arbitration rights include Ferland, Rittich, Vey, Hathaway and Wotherspoon. Having an arbitration case gives a team access to the second buyout window, which is a 48-hour period after the settlement of the last arbitration case.
Vey reportedly has a deal in the KHL with Barys Astana, but qualifying him maintains his North American rights for two more seasons. Wotherspoon was thought to be on the qualifying bubble, but he’s at the very least an experienced, useful minor league defender. At his age, though, there’s questions about his NHL upside.