By Mark Wollemann
Russo is flying now, so we post this as a favor to him:
Here’s the breakdown of the players who received qualifying offers from the Wild:
C Kyle Brodziak
LW Robbie Earl
G Josh Harding
RW Danny Irmen
LW Benoit Pouliot
D Clayton Stoner
And here’s the list of those who didn’t get offers and now become unrestricted free agents who can shop for a team starting July 1:
D Paul Albers
LW Riley Emmerson
LW Dan Fritsche
LW Peter Olvecky
Fritsche was probably the player most expected would be cut loose, based on the acquisition of Brodziak at the draft. So no big surprise there.
About Pouliot, Fletcher said: “We’re excited to see where he is come training camp. He’s had his ups and downs along the road, but (new coach) Todd Richards is excited about seeing him in camp. We want to see if he can push his career forward, take the next step. It’s up to him, but we want to give him that opportunity.”
He said not qualifying Fritsche and Olecky was a roster “flexibility” issue. About Olvecky, Fletcher said making him a qualifying offer might possibly have “made him eligible for a one-way contract. We wanted to keep the option open of a two-way contract.” So, by not qualifying him, Fletcher said he still held out hope that he could reach agreement on a two-way deal and keep Olvecky in the fold. Fletcher said it was important for the franchise to have as much financial flexibility as possible heading into free agency.
The NHL free agency period opens on Wednesday at 11 a.m., so stay tuned to this site for constant updates.
Russo will be back on later this afternoon to update this post.