Tuesday afternoon was the last chance for the Devils to qualify their restricted free agents. With a good chunk of players being eligible, the Devils needed to determine who they fault was important to retain and who was on the chopping block and time to walk away from. According to the Devils Twitter, they extended offers to Joseph Blandisi, Blake Coleman, Stefan Noesen, Blake Pietila, Kevin Rooney, Ben Thomson, Vojtech Mozik, and Damon Severson.
What to make of it?
A notable, and somewhat unexpected, player who failed to receive a qualifying offer is Beau Bennett. While the same thing occurred last year, Bennett was signed to a one-year deal and could follow a similar path this year, so do not fret quite yet. If he remains unsigned by July 1st, he will be an unrestricted free agent.
Expectedly, the Devils qualified two notables in Damon Severson and Scott Wedgewood. Although Severson is an NHL regular and arguably the Devils’ best defenseman, Wedgewood has struggled to find a path to the NHL due to injuries and inconsistency. Turning 25 this year, Wedgewood will likely compete for a backup job to Cory Schneider or split playing time in Binghamton.
For those wondering about Josefson, he will be an unrestricted free agent this year, thus not eligible for a qualifying offer.
Although the Devils did what most expected regarding qualifying their restricted free agents, next season will represent a test for a few of them. It will likely represent whether Wedgewood will be able to crack the NHL roster or become a minor league goalie. It will also be a chance for forwards like Blake Coleman and Blake Pietila who have seen success in Albany (now Binghamton) to see if they can translate into some pro-success. Among those qualified is Kevin Rooney, who appeared in 4 games with the Devils last season struggled to produce in Albany and would turn 25 during the season. Additionally, Stefan Noesen and Joseph Blandisi, two young pieces will likely see significant time with the Devils next season and could be in line for larger deals if they play well.
The Devils signed a few of their RFAs today by the required deadline and qualified the ones they needed to for the week. Let us know your thoughts on not qualifying Josefson while tendering Rooney and Thomson, and as always, thank you for reading!