Sources tell TSN the NHL and the NHLPA are investigating what might have been an enormous mistake by the Chicago Blackhawks. Chicago tendered qualifying offers to several key players this week, including Kris Versteeg, Cam Barker, Ben Eager, Colin Fraser, Aaron Johnson and Troy Brouwer, however the investigation underway is to determine whether the qualifying offers were filed correctly. If not, there is the remote possibility the qualifying offers could be ruled invalid and the players listed above, conceivably, could be deemed unrestricted free agents because of the blunder.
There are few details, but one source says the players involved didn't receive the necessary notification of the offers.
The National Hockey League is in the process of trying to determine whether the situation was remedied in time.
Chicago general manager Dale Tallon says the qualifying offers were mailed to the players in time, on June 29th, but says because of the July 1 holiday, some of the players didn't receive them in time.
Additional sources say qualifying offers are not supposed to be mailed.
Overnight delivery via courier and direct fax to the players agent is preferred and certified or registered mail is acceptable only if the other means are unavailable.
Tallon says fax copies of the offers were sent to the league, so he doesn't anticipate any significant fall out.
However, sources say some of the qualifying offers were not faxed to the agents.
According to both the NHL and the NHLPA, the investigation into how and why the Chicago Blackhawks bungled a number of their qualifying offers is ongoing. Neither side will comment, however since this story broke Friday evening on TSN.ca, interest into how the league and players association will respond is significant.
If the NHL grants leniency and attempts to sweep this issue away, it's expected the NHLPA will swiftly file a grievance and the matter will go to a hearing.
Sources with hands on knowledge of how qualifying offers have to be filed say as innocent as this mistake may have been, there is no excuse for it, and the league should follow through with the ultimate penalty and declare all players who didn't received proper notification, unrestricted free agents.
Blackhawks stars Kris Versteeg and Cam Barker are among that group.
Neither player has arbitration rights and both should have received qualifying offers of less than $1 million, retaining their playing rights for the 2009-2010 season.
Versteeg, a highly skilled forward was a Calder Trophy nominee, while Barker on the open market would easily command between $3 and $5 million per season.
Dale Tallon told TSN he believed all of the qualifying offers were post marked for June 29th and didn't sound concerned when the matter was discussed on Friday.
Tallon acknowledged there was a mistake made and wondered if the July 1st holiday may have interfered with the players and player agents receiving the qualifying offers via mail, on time.
Multiple sources say it's clearly stated in the collective bargaining agreement, qualifying offers, or QO's, as they're commonly referred to, are not supposed to be mailed, but rather faxed or delivered by courier.
In 2000, the New Jersey Devils forgot to file the paperwork to renew the contracts for Brian Rafalski and John Madden.
Rafalski was scheduled to make $450,000, while Madden would have earned $550,000 had the mistake not been made.
Instead, Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello was forced to pay market value rather than allow his two stars to go free.
Rafalski agreed to a 4-year, $11 million dollar extension. Madden signed a 4-year, $7 million dollar deal.
While not identical scenarios, the Devils paid the price for a clerical mistake.
However, because of cap issues, the Chicago Blackhawks have no such out...other than to hope the NHL and the NHLPA find a way.
July 5: Deadline for player-elected salary arbitration July 6: Deadline for club-elected salary arbitration
Damit keine Fragen aufkommen:
Als erstes muss ein QO seitens des Teams eingegangen sein (-> Chicago). Wenn nicht, sind die Spieler automatisch UFAs.
NHL salary arbitration is a tool available to settle some contract disputes. The player and team each propose a salary for the coming season, and argue their cases at a hearing. The arbitrator, a neutral third party, then sets the player's salary.
Most players must have four years of NHL experience before they are eligible for salary arbitration (the term is reduced for those who signed their first NHL contract after the age of 20). The process is used by restricted free agents, because it is one of the few bargaining options available to them.
The deadline for players to request salary arbitration is July 5, with cases heard in late July and early August. A player and team can continue to negotiate up until the date of the hearing, in hopes of agreeing on a contract and avoiding the arbitration process.
Teams can also ask for salary arbitration. But a player can be taken to arbitration only once in his career, and can never receive less than 85 per-cent of his previous year's salary. There are no such restrictions on the number of times a player can ask for arbitration, or the size of the salary awarded.
A decision must be made within 48 hours of the hearing. When the decision is announced, the team has the right to decline, or "walk away" from the award. If the team exercises this right, the player can declare himself an unrestricted free agent.
The evidence that can be used in arbitration cases: # The player's "overall performance" including statistics in all previous seasons. # Injuries, illnesses and the number of games played. # The player's length of service with the team and in the NHL. # The player's "overall contribution" to the team's success or failure. # The player's "special qualities of leadership or public appeal." # The performance and salary of any player alleged to be "comparable" to the player in the dispute.
Evidence that is not admissible: # The salary and performance of a "comparable" player who signed a contract as an unrestricted free agent. # Testimonials, video and media reports. # The financial state of the team. # The salary cap and the state of the team's payroll.
The National Hockey League has concluded its portion of an investigation into the Chicago Blackhawks mishandling of a number of qualifying offers made last week. At the request of the Players Association, the league has forwarded its findings to NHLPA and now awaits reaction to determine what happens next.
Wingers Nikolai Zherdev and Ryan Callahan of the New York Rangers were among 20 players who elected to take their teams to salary arbitration, the NHL Players' Association said Sunday.
The only other club to have two players go that route were the Phoenix Coyotes, who are set to have hearings with forwards Nigel Dawes and Daniel Winnik.
Joining them were defenceman James Wisniewski of the Anaheim Ducks; Thrashers winger Colby Armstrong; forward Matt Hunwick of the Boston Bruins; Buffalo left winger Clarke MacArthur; Carolina Hurricanes forward Tuomo Ruutu; defenceman Aaron Johnson of the Chicago Blackhawks; Columbus defenceman Marc Methot; Detroit winger Jiri Hudler; blue liner Denis Grebeshkov of the Edmonton Oilers; Minnesota center Kyle Brodziak; Montreal centre Tomas Plekanec; New Jersey Devils forward Travis Zajac; Islanders winger Nate Thompson; Lightning defenceman Matt Smaby; Canucks forward Kyle Wellwood; and Washington Capitals defenceman Milan Jurcina.
The deadline for teams to decide to take players to salary arbitration is Monday at 5pm et. Hearings will be held in Toronto from July 20 to August 4.
Sources tell TSN the National Hockey League Players Association has filed a grievance over the Chicago Blackhawks mishandling of a number of its qualifying offers and intends to argue the players affected by the mishap, who remain unsigned, should be ruled unrestricted free agents.
The NHL will be notified and can agree with the NHLPA's filing, or the league can disagree and the case will move on to an expidited hearing.
"In response to various media inquiries, the National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA) confirms today that it has filed a grievance regarding the failure of the Chicago Blackhawks to submit Qualifying Offers to its 2009 Restricted Free Agents prior to the deadline stipulated in the CBA. The NHLPA will make no further comment on the matter, which is now pending before the Impartial Arbitrator," said Jonathan Weatherdon, NHLPA Spokesperson.
At this moment, it's the Players' Association's contention, these players are unrestricted free agents and free to negotiate with any team.
The NHL is sure to fight back.
If the PA is accurate and the players involved are deemed unrestricted free agents, the Blackhawks could lose both forward Kris Versteeg and defenceman Cam Barker to the open market.
The interest in these two players league wide as UFA's would be significant. In Barker's case, one league source cites his value at $3 million on the low end, and as much as $5 million on the high end.
The Chicago Blackhawks have cap issues and may not be able to afford to compete in the feeding frenzy without making drastic moves to free up money.
This issue is far from resolved, but early indications suggest it may not end well for the Chicago Blackhawks.