As the New York Islanders off-season rolls on and free agency rapidly approaches, it looks like we finally have some free agent news to provide an update on. Well, sort of… it’s just not in the way you might think.
Monday evening (5pm EST, to be precise) was the deadline for general managers to put in their lists of qualifying offers (QO) to their club’s restricted free agents. For those out there who don’t know, teams must extend qualifying offers to their restricted free agents (RFA) in order to retain negotiating rights with that player. If no qualifying offer is given, that player instantly becomes an unrestricted free agent (UFA) once the free agency window opens. Being an RFA also means that any outside club needs to give up draft picks as compensation (varying with new salary) in the form of an offer sheet (which are used so rarely nowadays that it probably didn’t need to be mentioned, but who knows).
Now that we got that out of the way, how does this affect the Islanders? Well, the Isles sent out qualifying offers to six of their nine RFAs: Anthony Beauvillier, Kieffer Bellows, Anatoly Golyshev, Otto Koivula, Adam Pelech, and Ilya Sorokin. Nothing too surprising out of the names in that group, as the big names in the Isles’ RFA class (Beauvillier, Pelech, Sorokin) all received QOs from Isles general manager, Lou Lamoriello. In addition, those three players are also eligible for arbitration, which is essentially a trial conducted through a third-party arbitrator to help determine a reasonable contract for a pending RFA.
#isles QO's: Beauvillier, Bellows, Golyshev, Koivula, Pelech, Sorokin.
Not qualified: Dal Colle, Timashov, Carpenter
— James Nichols (@JamesNicholsNYI) July 27, 2021
Ironically enough, the big “shocker” (depending on how you look at it) came from the three names that weren’t tendered a QO. Dmytro Timashov (who played in one game as an Islander) and Bobo Carpenter (AHLer as of now) weren’t qualified. Neither was Michael Dal Colle, the fifth overall pick from the 2014 Entry Draft. To a good portion of the fan base, this came as a bit of a surprise. Dal Colle certainly hasn’t lived up to the expectation of a top-five draft pick (eight goals, 21 points in 111 NHL games), but many expected the 25-year-old to be tendered a qualifying offer at the very least.
Regardless of whether you liked him or not, this might be the right move for both sides. Dal Colle was pretty far off from being a mainstay in the Isles lineup, oftentimes only drawing dressing to fill a slot for an injured nightly player. Even when Dal Colle did draw into the lineup, there were very few games where he really stood out as an impactful player. Sure he could forecheck and play physical when the game called for it, but he was essentially just another forward to add to the list of bottom-six caliber players barely making an impact. At the end of the day though, as much as some fans might rip on him, Dal Colle is still capable of playing in the NHL. He’s still relatively young and could make more of an impact if given a more consistent role in the lineup. A change of scenery could be what the doctor ordered for a guy like MDC, so it’ll be interesting to see who takes a run at him this off-season, now that he’ll be a UFA.
Part of the Isles’ free agency future became a bit clearer after Monday, now it’s a “wait and see” type of approach as free agency officially opens on Wednesday at noon.
Follow Carter on Twitter @cbentivenga14