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Dallas Stars issue qualifying offer to Thomas Harley, send other restricted free agents to free agency

Dallas Stars issue qualifying offer to Thomas Harley, send other restricted free agents to free agency

Dallas Stars issue qualifying offer to Thomas Harley, send other restricted free agents to free agency

Dallas Stars general manager Jim Nill announced Sunday that the organization has extended a qualifying offer to restricted free agent defenseman Thomas Harley.

The Stars thus retain negotiating rights to the young defenseman. However, the team did not issue qualifying offers to forward Sam Steel, recently acquired Max Ellis, goaltender Matt Murray or defenseman Nils Lundkvist, meaning they will become unrestricted free agents on Monday.

The qualifying offer does not mean Harley has a signed contract for next season, but that another team would have to sign him via an offer sheet starting July 1. The Stars could match that offer sheet to retain the player or not match it and receive draft pick compensation depending on the players’ salaries.

Most teams are reluctant to accept offers. For Dallas, a qualifying offer from Harley was worth $874,125.

Players can accept a qualifying offer before July 15 or reject it and continue negotiations. Restricted free agents must sign a contract by December 1 to be eligible to play for the remainder of the NHL season.

Harley was set to receive the biggest raise among Dallas’ RFAs and the most likely candidate for an offer sheet. The 22-year-old defenseman recorded 47 points (15 goals, 32 assists) as Dallas’ primary defenseman last year despite earning an average annual salary $7.6 million less than teammate Miro Heiskanen. His negotiation could also be the most complicated.

Steel was a restricted free agent last offseason, but Minnesota did not make him a qualifying offer, ultimately making him an unrestricted free agent and taking him to Dallas.

While Lundkvist didn’t have the strongest season and his future in Dallas is unclear, the Stars traded a first-round pick for him, making it potentially unlikely they’ll let him walk for free. But for now, he will be available to any team once free agency opens.

Ty Dellandrea was also a restricted free agent, but the Stars traded him to San Jose earlier this offseason for a draft pick.

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