The New Jersey Devils have issued qualifying offers for select restricted free agents for the 2016-17 season. According to Alan Gross, the players receiving the qualifying offers include Reid Boucher, Jacob Josefson, Sergey Kalinin, Kyle Palmieri and Reece Scarlett. It's expected that Palmieri will sign a long-term deal in New Jersey before salary arbitration takes place.
For those unfamiliar with the details of the qualifying offer, it has a required bonus in the contract over the previous one. It also maintains the players' restricted free agent status and if a player is not qualified, they become a free agent on July 1st when the free agency period starts. Based on the CBA there is a mandated bonus that varies depending on each salary.
Players not Recieving Qualifying Offer
While many of those qualified were expected to receive the qualifying offer, there are a few names that stand out among those not qualified. That includes Devante Smith-Pelly, Jon Merrill, Raman Hrabarenka and newly acquired Beau Bennett. Although not qualified, according to Andrew Gross at Fire and Ice, it is expected Shero will resign each of these players to contracts before the free agency period.
It's likely that the Devils will retain these players because of the amount given up for them previously. Shero gave Pittsburgh a third for Bennett during the draft and traded former first rounder Stefan Matteau for Smith-Pelley at the trade deadline this season.
Although Hrabarenka and Merrill have both individually experienced their share of struggles and injury issues, it is likely that Shero will bring them back rather than lose the two young defensemen to free agency.
What do you think of Shero's strategy in trying to bring players back on different deals than their qualifying offers? What do you expect these salaries to look like? Let us know your thoughts and as always, thank you for reading.