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Anaheim Qualifies Two Players
By Thomas Harrington
Yesterday, it was announced that the Anaheim Ducks had tendered qualifying offers to two of their restricted free agents: Chase De Leo and Justin Kloos. It was also announced that Anaheim had not submitted qualifying offers to the rest of their restricted free agents: Jake Dotchin, Trevor Murphy, and Keaton Thompson. By submitting a qualifying offer, Anaheim is keeping De Leo and Kloos as restricted free agents(RFAs), giving them almost exclusive rights to negotiate with these two players.
Other teams can negotiate with and sign either De Leo or Kloos, but they’d have to give Anaheim some form of compensation to get either player. Anaheim would also have the option to match a contract either player signed with another team and they would stay with the Ducks. Also, Anaheim will have to offer De Leo and Kloos a contract that is at least one year in length, and a deal worth more than the salary they made this past season. Since De Leo made $650,000, Anaheim must give him a contract that is worth at least 110% of that amount. Kloos made $792,500, so Anaheim will have to give him a contract worth at least 105% of that amount. By not giving a qualifying offer to Dotchin, Murphy, or Thompson, all three are set to become unrestricted free agents. However, the Ducks can still re-sign any of them, but they will not have to give them a raise the way they will have to do with De Leo and Kloos.
Chase De Leo
Giving De Leo a qualifying offer was pretty much a no brainer. Acquired almost exactly a year ago from Winnipeg for Nicolas Kerdiles, he fit in seamlessly with the Gulls and was one of their leading scorers. In the first round of the playoffs, he scored a goal in every single game against San Jose, helping San Diego get by them in four games. He’ll likely get a two-way deal for one or two years.
Anaheim acquired Kloos from the Minnesota Wild for Pontus Aberg. He scored 15 points in 25 games with the Gulls. In the playoffs, he scored nine points in 16 games. While Kloos’ transition to the Gulls wasn’t as seamless as De Leo’s, he became an invaluable part of their offense, and I’m excited to see what he can do for a full season in San Diego. Like De Leo, I think he gets a two-way deal for one or two years.
Seeing Dotchin not qualified was a bit of a surprise. While he wasn’t great with the Ducks, he was a serviceable bottom pairing player most nights and played well for the Gulls as well. He had a cap hit $812,500 last season, so Anaheim would have had to pay him at least 105% of that salary if they wanted to keep him. Of the three players not qualified, I think that Anaheim will try the hardest to bring back Dotchin. Possibly on a two-way deal, possibly on an AHL only contract, but I thought he played very well for the Gulls and he can handle NHL minutes. With so many question marks surrounding Anaheim’s blueline heading into free agency, keeping him under contract for another year wouldn’t be a bad idea.
It was announced a couple of weeks ago that Murphy had signed a deal in the KHL, so him not being qualified was not a surprise. However, it was a disappointment to see him decide to leave. He was one of the primary reasons for San Diego turning their season around. Before he got there, the Gulls were near the bottom of the AHL. He came in and helped stabilize their blueline and made San Diego a better team. It’s unfortunate to see him go, but I hope he does well in the KHL.
Anaheim chose Thompson in the third round of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, but he hasn’t progressed much in the AHL. He’s played in the minors for the last three seasons, but after seeming to take a step forward in the 2017-2018 season, he took a step back this season and was a healthy scratch several times, including San Diego’s entire playoff run. I don’t anticipate Anaheim trying to bring him back on a cheaper deal, but given that San Diego is the only AHL team that he has played for, it’s possible he could sign an AHL only deal to be back with the Gulls next season.
The Ducks were lucky to not have any big-name restricted free agents this summer. The two they have are for relatively minor players and should be pretty easy to re-sign. There are a number of high profile restricted free agents around the league and we might see a few offer sheets given out. If that happens, it will be a very interesting summer in the NHL. While the Ducks had only a few restricted free agents to deal with this year, they’ll have more to deal with next summer: Devin Shore, Troy Terry, Daniel Sprong, Brendan Guhle, Kiefer Sherwood, Alex Dostie, Deven Sideroff, Jacob Larsson, Patrick Sieloff, and Angus Redmond. With so many players to take care of, it will be interesting to see if Bob Murray tries to extend them later this summer.
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June 26th, 2019