The NHL’s deadline for qualifying restricted free agents is 5 PM EDT today, less than a week prior to the start of free agency negotiations. Those RFAs not qualified by their teams will become unrestricted free agents on July 1, free to negotiate and sign a contract with any team in the league.
All but one RFA of the Dallas Stars was qualified today. Cole Ully is the only one that did not receive a qualifying offer, and he’ll now be free to sign with any team at the start of free agency. The remaining RFAs were qualified: Jason Dickinson, Mattias Janmark, Devin Shore, Gemel Smith, Remi Elie, Dillon Heatherington, and Philippe Desrosiers.
Ully spent the majority of last season in the ECHL after spending the full season before in the AHL, so it isn’t surprising that the Stars did not qualify him. After all, the team is limited to 50 NHL contracts, and it wasn’t likely Ully would be offered a two-way contract with the Stars given his trajectory.
Dickinson, Janmark, Shore, Smith, Elie and to a lesser degree Heatherington should all be NHL players this season, helping the Stars to fill out their bottom six forwards and seventh defensemen spots, barring any other moves. Desrosiers will continue to get time to develop at the AHL level.
Those qualified had to receive a contract offer of the league minimum of 10% more than they were making on their current contracts, and the Stars will now have the chance to negotiate with each of them as they retain their rights. However, I’d expect many of these contracts to be signed after free agency moves are made and the team has a clearer look at their cap picture.
Smith, Shore, and Janmark are all arbitration eligible.