The deadline for qualifying offers for NHL teams was 5 p.m. on Monday, and the Ottawa Senators chose to qualify three of their six RFAs. However, which of those three they qualified was reported incorrectly earlier in the day.
Claesson DID NOT receive a qualifying offer. My bad. My bad. My bad. Always double-check, triple-check sources before tweeting. I apologize to those who re-tweeted my tweet.— Ken Warren (@Citizenkwarren) June 25, 2018
In fact, Mark Stone, Cody Ceci, and Nick Paul received qualifying offers, while Fredrik Claesson, Nick Moutrey, and Chris Driedger did not. This means that the latter three will become unrestricted free agents on July 1st.
The qualification of Stone and Ceci made lots of sense. Some wondered if Paul wouldn’t be extended a qualifying offer because he wasn’t on the team’s development camp roster, but as pointed out in the comments earlier, he’s 23 and has attended his share of development camps.
The non-qualification of Driedger and Moutrey also made sense. With Filip Gustavsson and Marcus Hogberg both looking to be AHL rookies next season, the Sens didn’t need another young goalie for their farm team. Moutrey was a throw-in on the Ian Cole trade with the Blue Jackets, and it looks like his five points 16 games for Belleville down the stretch weren’t enough to earn him another look with the Sens.
The non-qualification of Claesson comes as a bigger surprise. It wasn’t because of money. When the Sens didn’t qualify Patrick Wiercioch, it would’ve cost the Sens $2.7M. For Claesson though, it would’ve only cost $715k, which is less than Ben Harpur’s $725k for the next two years. It’s also not like the Sens have way too many defencemen under contract, with only four defencemen on one-way contracts, plus Thomas Chabot, Christian Wolanin, and Cody Ceci. Unless the team really expects Christian Jaros or Andreas Englund or someone to play a big role with the big club, the numbers don’t really make sense. It’s also odd to me, because even if the team didn’t intend on signing him, he likely could’ve had value as a trade option.
It’s obviously not a make-or-break decision for the team, but it still seems questionable. Especially if Erik Karlsson is traded in the coming days, this team will suddenly be very short on defencemen. With the UFA pool looking very empty, this is another confusing decision by the team.