It should be no real surprise, but the Pittsburgh Penguins are going to tender qualifying offers for the newly acquired Harry Zolnierczyk as well as their other three impending restricted free agents in Dustin Jeffrey, Robert Bortuzzo and Tyler Kennedy. From Dave Molinari of the PG:
Zolnierczyk, a left winger scheduled to be a restricted free agent July 5, is going to receive a qualifying offer from them.
And he won't be the only one.
General manager Ray Shero said Monday he also expects to extend qualifying offers to forwards Tyler Kennedy and Dustin Jeffrey and defenseman Robert Bortuzzo before the July 2 deadline.
"I don't see us not qualifying anybody, at this point," he said.
Classic asset management, all of these players would be unrestricted if not given these offers and possibly walk for nothing.
Consequently, the minimum qualifying offers for the players in question would be: Kennedy, $2 million; Jeffrey, $687,500; Zolnierczyk, $660,000; and Bortuzzo, $577,500
With little to no leverage, expect the last three names to all be in the fold on one year deals at those rates probably pretty quickly after they officially receive the offers. For those young players, just getting an NHL contract is enough.
Kennedy will be the key player to watch. After the Pens trade deadline acquisitions of Jarome Iginla, Brenden Morrow and Jussi Jokinen, Kennedy fell down the depth chart as far as being a healthy scratch for the beginning of the 2013 playoffs. While he did get back in (and notch five points in nine games) it was mostly in a 4th line/energy role.
$2 million is a lot to pay for that type of role, but all the deadline acquisitions (except Jokinen) are likely going to leave town and the Pens have several other forwards about to hit unrestricted free agency like Pascal Dupuis, Matt Cooke and Craig Adams.
TK is soon to be 27 years old, with six years of NHL experience and a 20 goal season under his belt. While his trade return wouldn't be huge, he could still be a valuable player for some NHL team. While this qualifying offer doesn't guarantee it'll be Pittsburgh, it does make sure the Pens (via trade or signing) are going to get something out of Tyler Kennedy for next season. And that's just good old fashioned asset management.