Today marks the start of the free-agent chaos and mayhem that we see every July. It had been relocated in previous years, but this is one of the most exciting days of the year. We’re getting to the conclusion of the previous season and at 12 PM ET or Midday on Wednesday, July 13th, the free agents across the NHL will be free to sign deals with whoever they want to as they search for their next paycheck.
For some, it will be a bittersweet feeling. Some of the unrestricted free agents every year are younger than the 26-year-old barrier that separates the RFA’s from the UFA’s. For those that do not know or understand why this is because they do not receive a qualifying offer. A qualifying offer has to be offered by the team and is equivalent to 100% of a player’s salary from the previous year, or 105% if it is $1 million or less.
This year, due to cap concerns, there were a lot of eye-catching restricted free agents that just were not qualified. Whether that was due to their qualifying offer being too high, or just because the organization they were with does not value them enough to keep them around, they will be eligible to sign anywhere they want for free as an unrestricted free agent. This is where a lot of teams get a chance to be smart.
In theory, if you can find a quality unqualified restricted free agent and get them to come along a little bit within your organization, you’re going to end up doing quite well for yourself. Carolina is an organization known for willing to work with reclamation projects so this very much fits the thought process of the team. The issue becomes picking the select group out of this talented haul of players.