The Buffalo Sabres extended qualifying offers to six restricted free agents prior to the 5pm deadline today and the list is almost what was expected. Players receiving qualifying offers were Zemgus Girgensons, Johan Larsson, Evan Rodrigues, Jake McCabe, Linus Ullmark, CJ Smith, and Remi Elie.
Last week Jason Botterill had stated that offers would be extended to the NHL regulars and that’s exactly what happened.
Three players that did not receive qualifying offers and will become free agents: Eric Cornel, Jack Dougherty, and Brycen Martin. That doesn’t mean they’re necessarily done in the organization but the players will become free agents on July 1.
Sean Malone did not receive a qualifying offer but did agree to terms on a one year contract with the Amerks on an AHL deal.
A qualifying offer is extended to retain a players negotiating rights and are for one year contracts. A qualifying offer provides a player with a raise depending on their previous contract. For more in depth details visit Cap Friendly where they lay out the terms.
Remi Elie receiving a qualifying offer is interesting because they’re matching his one-way contract along with the raise for the 2019/2020 season. There’s a lack of NHL depth which is likely the primary reason.
Sean Malone showed a lot of growth potential during the 2017/2018 season as a third line center that could be used in all scenarios of a game. A couple of different injuries set him back this past season and he only played in 38 games accumulating 13 points (4G+9A). He’s had some off season medical work done to get the medical issues back on track. He signed a one year American League contract to return to Rochester for the 2019/2020 season to prove himself.
Eric Cornel was drafted 44th overall in the second round of the 2014 NHL draft and after playing three full seasons with the Rochester Americans he hasn’t been mentioned once in terms of a potential call up. He had a career 2018/2019 season as the only Amerks player to play in all 76 regular season games and finished with 22 points (9G+13A). He’s a serviceable AHL center but it’s time to move on from using up an NHL contract.
Jack Dougherty was acquired from the Nashville Predators in the trade for Nick Baptiste last season and is in the same scenario as Eric Cornel, gets the job done in the AHL in his role but hasn’t had a sniff at the NHL yet in his career. With the number of defensemen already signed in the organization it’ll be interesting to see if they offer Dougherty an AHL deal to stick around or he tests the waters elsewhere.
Brycen Martin was loaned out of the organization last season to the Maine Mariners instead of buying him out. He was drafted 74th overall in the third round of the 2014 NHL draft and only played in 19 American League games spread across three seasons.