The deadline for extending qualifying offers to restricted free agents was today at 5pm, and the Buffalo Sabres just announced that they've extended offers to seven of their RFAs, including some very big names.
We've extended qualifying offers to 7 RFAs: Catenacci, Foligno, Girgensons, McCabe, Nelson, Ristolainen & Kasdorf. https://t.co/EAB4jbdWEM— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) June 27, 2016
There are no surprises among that list, and Tim Murray smartly extended offers to four players that will contribute in the NHL next season, while Casey Nelson, Jason Kasdorf, and Dan Catenacci will contribute mainly in Rochester next season.
The biggest name on that list - Rasmus Ristolainen - is in the midst of negotiating a much bigger deal with the team, something probably between the contracts signed by Hampus Lindholm and Morgan Reilly earlier this summer. Foligno, Girgensons and McCabe probably won't see raises that are too significant, but all are players that the team was wise to bring back.
Of course, there were some players to whom the team did not not extended qualifying offers, and will thus become free agents.
They did not qualify Nevens, Makarov, Lieuwen, Jacobs or Gubtill. They are now unrestricted free agents.— Paul Hamilton (@pham1717) June 27, 2016
There's no real surprises on that list, as payers like Lieuwen and Nevens did not make much of a positive impact in Rochester last year. And despite the team trading for Dmitry Kulikov, I don't think Andrey Makarov would come back even if he were offered a contract.
While it's nice to keep these seven players in the fold, hopefully we'll hear about some progress on a long-term deal for Ristolainen in the coming weeks.