|(Credit: Ross Bonander/Texas Stars)|
Qualifying offers for restricted free agents are due today by 5 PM ET. The Dallas Stars have already announced their QOs. For me, it's a bit surprising.
Qualified RFAs included Nick Caamano, Riley Damiani, Ty Dellandrea and Scott Reedy. Those who were not qualified were where the surprises were. Let's look at each in turn.
Dawson Barteaux - This was a 50/50 proposition. With a stacked blue line in Dallas and Texas and relatively few injuries to speak of, Barteaux never got a chance to establish himself in the AHL this year. Despite the extra COVID year of experience, he was unable to elevate beyound third pairing or seventh man in the AHL for Texas.
Oskari Laaksonen - Not a surprise here. Laaksonen already signed to play in Europe for the next two years. The QO would have only retained his North American rights, but Dallas was uninterested.
Adam Scheel - This is a little surprising. While I'm not expecting Scheel to be an NHL number one, he had a career year in the ECHL and could have bounced that confidence into an AHL breakout year. However, Texas also didn't have room for another goalie. Matt Murray and Remi Poirier look to be the entrenched pair. There was some question of whether it would make sense to try to sign Scheel and send him elsewhere in the AHL (newly-independent Chicago anyone?). That clearly wasn't the thought.
Marian Studenic - This is the biggest surprise for me. Studenic was part of a dynamic line with Oskar Back and Curtis McKenzie for most of the season. He had a gift for speed and potted 48 points in 67 games. With the likely departure of at least some of the veterans such as Barber and Kero, I had thought Studenic would be a piece to retain, especially with a cheap contract value of 787,500 on the QO.
Remember that these players are free to sign anywhere now and that includes Dallas, Texas and Idaho. We have seen this in the past as recently as last season when Dallas did not qualify Jordan Kawaguchi but Texas signed him to an AHL deal.