Monday was the deadline for teams to extend qualifying offers to restricted to retain their rights. Players who were not given their qualifying offers are set to become unrestricted free agents on July 1.
The Hurricanes initially qualified Trevor van Riemsdyk, Lucas Wallmark, Valentin Zykov and Greg McKegg. Of that group only veteran AHLer Greg McKegg was a player who could have gone either way.
The Hurricanes chose not to qualify Joakim Nordstrom, Phil Di Giuseppe, Sergey Tolchinsky, Keegan Kanzig and Tyler Ganly.
Working through the group…
Phil Di Giuseppe
Di Giuseppe was actually not qualified probably for fear of arbitration risk, but later in the day the team announced that it had signed him to a one-year, one-way contract for $750,000.
On Twitter before after not being qualified and before he was signed, I said:
— Canes and Coffee (@CanesandCoffee) June 25, 2018
As a player who could have been cut to make room like Nordstrom (likely), he was definitely a could stay/could go player. What surprises me a bit is the fact that he received a one-way deal. On the one hand, he has paid some dues and probably earned it. On the other hand, with the volume of young players in the mix, he has his work cut out to earn an NHL roster slot, so having him on a two-way contract would have been more flexible financially.
I have long liked Di Giuseppe a level higher than his offensive production would seem to warrant. Over the years he morphed into a physical forechecker who skates pretty well and sound checking line forward. His skill set has long seemed higher than what he produces but save for a massive nine-point outburst late in 2017-18 the offensive game has been really light for a couple years now. I like him as a #13 forward who pushes the youth to truly earn a roster spot or otherwise head back to Charlotte to continue development.
Kanzig was an addition to the Eddie Lack trade with Calgary last summer to even up the number of contracts exchanged. He was really on the outside looking in even when he joined the organization. The fact that he spent much of the 2017-18 season at the ECHL was a pretty clear sign that he had not played his way up the depth chart and would be let go once his contract expired.
Ganly has a longer history with the Hurricanes as a 2013 sixth-rounder who did well to earn an NHL contract. But he lost a season to a training camp injury and had not established himself as a regular at the AHL level during his three-year entry-level contract.
Tolchinsky was an absolutely fabulous story from the Hurricanes prospect camp in 2013 with dazzling stickhandling, scoring and shootout goals. But as an undersized player, his stickhandling wizardry never really translated to the AHL where time and space goes away quickly. He was in and out of the lineup in 2017-18 which showed where he stood with the next wave of prospects moving up.
Nordstrom was eligible for arbitration which presents a significant risk in qualifying him. As such, it is possible that the team is still negotiating to sign him (as happened with Di Giuseppe) but more likely he will be one of the players cut to make room for youth. I am moderately surprised that he was not retained. Nordstrom’s offense is extremely limited which puts a low ceiling on where he fits in the lineup, but I like him as a versatile, skating #13 who could help fill a penalty killing slot on a team that has some sorting out to do there.
Trevor van Riemsdyk
With a qualifying offer of only about $1 million, van Riemsdyk’s qualifying offer was a formality that just sets the stage for negotiating his next deal. Rumblings are that his contract negotiations are stalled just like Hanifin’s and Lindholm’s. Coming off a strong season earning less than $1 million, van Riemsdyk figures to earn a significant raise. My rough math pegs him at $1.5-2 million per year for 2-3 years.
McKegg was the return for Josh Jooris in a trade deadline deal with the Penguins. As a veteran AHLer who had only been with the organization for a couple months, McKegg figured to be a player who could be turned loose to free up another contract slot. But he made an immediate impression during his short time in Charlotte and in the process earned a place. Even teams with deep prospect pools have room for 5-8 veteran AHLers who help drive success at the AHL level and lead the way for the kids playing with them. Though many of these players do not see the NHL much if at all, these players are underrated in terms of their impact on the organization by creating a winning environment and teaching young players how to be professionals.
Zykov was a no-brainer based on leading the AHL in goal scoring and also posting a strong run with Aho and Teravainen. As a player expected to compete for an NHL roster spot, he was obviously going to be qualified.
Wallmark, like Zykov, was a no-brainer based on his strong play at the AHL level.
Netting it out, the biggest news Monday was the decision to re-sign Di Giuseppe and seemingly allocate an NHL roster spot to him with his one-way contract. The decision not to qualify Nordstrom if it turns out he is not also being renegotiated would also be significant. Looking forward the contract negotiations for van Riemsdyk are significant. He solidified a third pairing that was a mess in 2016-17 and in the process became a reasonably important part of the defense despite his lesser role.
What say you Canes fans?
1) Were you surprised to see Phil Di Giuseppe re-signed, especially on a one-way deal?
2) Were you surprised to see Joakim Nordstrom not qualified?
3) Any thoughts on the other decisions for qualifying offers for Monday?