Houston Aeros 1994-2013: Thank you for all the great memories and two decades of great hockey and entertainment.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Wild qualify 6 of 10 restricted free agents (updated)

As we've mentioned before, restricted free agents become unrestricted free agents and the team loses their rights to a player if they are not given a qualifying offer by the deadline, which was today.

Here's the list of players who were qualified, with Aeros bolded:

C Kyle Brodziak
LW Robbie Earl
G Josh Harding
RW Danny Irmen
LW Benoit Pouliot
D Clayton Stoner

The Wild did not make qualifying offers to:
D Paul Albers
LW Riley Emmerson
LW Dan Fritsche
LW Peter Olvecky

Not entirely surprising on any front, though I always liked Paul and will miss his fantastic shot blocking. I thought they might keep Olvecky around, but I guess the new regime doesn't see a fit. Will add more later if clarity around the decisions is made public.

On Wednesday, NHL free agency begins. It's also Canada Day and really the most exciting day of the off-season, typically. Though teams are so burdened with salary cap issues, it will be interesting to see what GMs can pull off with such constraints. I, for one, take the day off and just follow the flow of signings and trades like a kid at Christmas, but I'm kind of a dork for hockey. :)

UPDATE: From Russo's blog, it appears the goal is to keep Olvecky but avoid having to sign him to a one-way (NHL-only) contract.

About Pouliot, Fletcher said: “We’re excited to see where he is come training camp. He’s had his ups and downs along the road, but (new coach) Todd Richards is excited about seeing him in camp. We want to see if he can push his career forward, take the next step. It’s up to him, but we want to give him that opportunity.”

He said not qualifying Fritsche and Olecky was a roster “flexibility” issue. About Olvecky, Fletcher said making him a qualifying offer might possibly have “made him eligible for a one-way contract. We wanted to keep the option open of a two-way contract.” So, by not qualifying him, Fletcher said he still held out hope that he could reach agreement on a two-way deal and keep Olecky in the fold. Fletcher said it was important for the franchise to have as much financial flexibility as possible heading into free agency.

And of no particular consequence to the Aeros but might be of interest if you were a fan of his, John Lammers has not been qualified by the Dallas Stars organization, so he, too, will become a UFA on Wednesday.


Andrew J. Ferraro said...

Zero surprises here to me ... It will be interesting to see what AHL-type guys are brought in to the new system.

Fred Trask said...

I was a bit surprised on the Olvecky front but the comments posted on Russo's blog explained a lot. Hopefully they'll keep him in the fold. If not, I hope he goes somewhere that will give him a shot in the NHL.

I think this is Pouliot's final chance as well. I hope for Benoit that he's able to show up in camp with a fire and play the way we know he can. It's a fresh start for him so I hope he makes the most of it.

Albers surprises me a bit as I thought he played pretty well when not injured and I really liked when he'd pinch and contribute to the offense. I believe he's got some offensive skill that could be tapped.

Forecheck said...

Suprised that they still see something in Princess, and also with Olvecky who I thought was back in their good graces.... so why the games?

Ms. Conduct said...

They don't want to risk having to sign Peter to a one way deal, thus having to pay him his NHL salary if he doesn't fit on the big club. Makes sense to me. He's got a bit more to prove.

And I love that nobody's really getting a free pass for the big club this year because they're so desperate to fill the holes left by, frankly, bad management. Just throw 'em all on the ice at camp and see what sticks.

beware the bear(s) said...

Sorry to hear that about Lammers, he's a nice kid, but needs lots of seasoning. Maybe he just does not have THAT hunger that drives some of the others.