Penguins leave Ouellet off list
Share with others:
The Penguins yesterday extended qualifying offers to six players who otherwise would have become unrestricted free agents Sunday. The only regular from last season who did not receive a qualifying offer was winger Michel Ouellet.
The restricted free agents who received the offers were forwards Colby Armstrong, Erik Christensen, Maxime Talbot and newly acquired Tim Brent, defenseman Ryan Whitney and minor-league defenseman Ryan Lannon. Armstrong is the only one of the five who has arbitration rights.
General manager Ray Shero said the Penguins explored trading Ouellet but couldn't come up with a deal, so they will let him test the free-agent market and could attempt to re-sign him if the price is right.
Ouellet had 19 goals, 48 points in 73 games and got time on the power play in his first full season in the NHL. He made $500,000 and would have been entitled to a qualifying offer of $550,000.
"The way the system is set up, while I believe Michel made good strides, it's not reflective of his value," Shero said.
The only other restricted free agent who was not given a qualifying offer was minor-league goaltender Andrew Penner, who signed with the Penguins as a free agent last summer and split his season between the team's minor-league teams in Wheeling and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, going a combined 23-12-2.
After working out deals to re-sign veteran wingers Mark Recchi and Gary Roberts over the weekend, the Penguins have 16 NHL and minor-league players besides Ouellet and Penner set to become unrestricted free agents Sunday.
Of those, Shero said defenseman Rob Scuderi is the only one the team is trying to re-sign before Sunday.
Others, including defensemen Josef Melichar and Alain Nasreddine and backup goaltender Jocelyn Thibault, could re-sign with the Penguins during the free-agency period.
Many of the rest -- defensemen Eric Cairns, Wade Brookbank, Matt Carkner, Micki Dupont, Joel Kwiatkowski, Richard Litner and Wade Skolney; forwards Nils Ekman, Niklas Nordgren, Ronald Petrovicky and Libor Pivko; and goaltender Nolan Schaefer -- won't be back.
That will leave Shero with the task of not only filling in a few spots on the Penguins' roster but also adding several minor-league players to the organization.
Shero hopes to hear from defenseman Alex Goligoski, the team's second-round draft pick in 2004, by Sunday on whether he plans to turn pro or return to the University of Minnesota.
NOTE -- The team today will begin a weeklong conditioning camp for 32 rookies and young prospects, including Angelo Esposito, their first-round pick in the draft last weekend, six other 2007 draft picks and top defense prospect Kris Letang.
First Published June 25, 2007 11:02 pm