The Dallas Stars announced today that they have tendered qualifying offers to four pending restricted free agents — Radek Faksa, Denis Gurianov, Roope Hintz, and Joel L’Esperance.
A qualifying offer allows a team to retain negotiating rights to a player as both sides work together on a contract. At any point during negotiation, the player can choose to instead accept the qualifying offer, which results in a one-year contract for an amount based on the base salary of the last year of their previous contract.
The above players have the following values associated with their qualifying offers per CapFriendly:
- Radek Faksa — $2.4 million (100% of previous salary)
- Denis Gurianov — $874,125 (105%)
- Roope Hintz — $874,125 (105%)
- Joel L’Esperance — $735,000 (105%)
In general, it is rare that players sign their qualifying offers, instead negotiating a new contract with their respective team, even if it’s still a one-year deal. For the above players, the Stars will prioritize signing Faksa as he has arbitration rights, which teams try to avoid. A key piece in the Stars’ defensive system, Faksa will likely command a pay raise to about the $3 million range, likely for two to three years.
Gurianov and Hintz will most likely sign short-term bridge deals also in the $3 million range. Unlike Faksa, they do not hold arbitration rights but are potential candidates for offer sheets given their high ceilings and the Stars’ current financial troubles in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, offer sheets are extraordinarily rare — since the 2014 offseason, Sebastian Aho is the only player to have received and signed an offer sheet.
Finally, L’Esperance will likely command a contract similar to his qualifying offer, although the Stars might tack on an extra year if they so desire.
The Stars also announced that they will not be extending qualifying offers to three players — Landon Bow, Tony Calderone, and Josh Melnick. These three players will become unrestricted free agents effective on Friday, October 9th, and will be free to sign with any team of their choosing.
Of the three, Bow is the only surprising choice, given he started the year third on the Stars’ goaltender depth chart. However, he was quickly overtaken by Jake Oettinger and ultimately served as the fourth goaltender on the Stars’ expanded roster for the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs. In a normal year, the Stars would likely retain Bow’s services and keep him in the AHL as one of the Texas Stars’ two netminders. However, with a 2020-21 AHL season looking less and less likely, the Stars ultimately sought to save the expense and let Bow walk.
As an aside, once a qualifying offer has been made, the team retains the player’s rights until either A) they sign a new contract which then expires, or B) they turn 27. This means that Dallas still holds the rights to Julius Honka, who was extended a qualifying offer last off-season but was never signed to a contract.