Today was the deadline for teams to extend qualifying offers to their restricted free agents. RFAs who receive qualifying offers can either accept them or reject them and negotiate another contract with the team. They can also elect arbitration if they are eligible.
Players who do not receive a qualifying offer will become free agents on July 1st. Teams can still negotiate and sign any players they do not qualify, but they are not restricted by the salary type and amounts under the RFA rules.
The Leafs had seven RFAs to make decisions on: Connor Brown, Zach Hyman, Seth Griffith, Sergei Kalinin, Justin Holl, Antoine Bibeau, and Garret Sparks.
Who they qualified:
#Leafs RFAs who have received qualifying offers (that I know so far): Connor Brown, Zach Hyman, Garret Sparks. Working on the rest.— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) June 26, 2017
None of these players are a surprise. Brown and Hyman are established NHL players after spending all of last season with the Leafs. Sparks is one of only a few goaltending prospects who can play for the Marlies this season.
The Leafs have extended qualifying offers to 4 players: G Garret Sparks, D Justin Holl and forwards Connor Brown and Zach Hyman.— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) June 26, 2017
This later information gets us word on Justin Holl.
Who they didn’t qualify:
#Leafs RFA not qualified: Antoine Bibeau— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) June 26, 2017
Bibeau is the real surprise of today. He fell out of favour with the Marlies near the end of the season and only played one playoff game. He was supplanted by ECHL call-up Kasimir Kaskisuo, who joined the Marlies in mid-March and appeared in 10 playoff games. Sparks sat out most of the playoffs with an injury.
This might be a sign that the Leafs plan on running with Sparks and Kaskisuo with the Marlies next season.
Seth Griffith also did not receive a qualifying offer from the #leafs, making him a pending UFA.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) June 26, 2017
The oft-waived Seth Griffith who was on the roster of three NHL teams last season is now a UFA as well. He was lights-out good in the AHL at times, but never translated that into NHL play either in Toronto or Florida.
Without absolute confirmation, we can only assume the Kalinin was not qualified. This is expected, and he is likely to play in the KHL next season.