The Stockton Thunder soon will take another step toward piecing together its next roster by announcing which players have been extended qualifying contract offers for the upcoming ECHL season.
The list of players receiving qualifying offers is expected to be released on Monday (July 2), and announcements of player signings are expected to begin shortly thereafter.
To be eligible for a qualifying offer, a player had to be included on a team’s official season-ending roster. All season-ending rosters, which consist of up to 20 players who signed ECHL contracts for the 2011-’12 season, were released by the league on June 15. Each ECHL team is allowed to issue qualifying offers to a maximum of eight players from its season-ending roster, and the deadline to issue offers is July 1.
Stockton’s season-ending roster included the following 17 players:
- Forwards – Kevin Baker, Matt Foy, Jesse Fratkin, Jordan Fulton, Garet Hunt, Gabriel Levesque, Jason Morgan, Matt Reber
- Defensemen – Cameron Brodie, Nathan Deck, Tony DeHart, Rob Kwiet, Mike Little, Adam Maccarone, Brock Matheson, Sebastian Owuya, Dan Ringwald
Of the eight players per team to whom qualifying offers can be issued, no more than four can be veterans of 260 or more regular-season professional hockey games as of the start of the 2012-’13 season. From Stockton’s season-ending roster, only Baker, Foy and Morgan are veterans.
All qualifying offers are valid through Aug. 1, and players on open qualifying offers cannot be traded. After Aug. 1, unsigned offers become void and teams can then sign qualified players to any salary or opt to take no further action. A team extending a qualifying offer to a non-veteran player will retain the rights to that player for one season, and a team issuing a qualifying offer to a veteran player will hold that player’s rights until Aug. 1, at which point unsigned veterans will become restricted free agents.
If a restricted free agent agrees to contract terms with another ECHL team, the club which held his rights will have a seven-day window in which to match the offer and keep the player. Any restricted free agent who has not signed a contract or an offer sheet with any ECHL team by Aug. 31 will be declared an unrestricted free agent at that time.
On June 1, the Thunder announced a protected list consisting of all the players on the season-ending roster plus defenseman Anthony Aiello and forwards Chris D’Alvise, Pierre Andre-Bureau, Kelly Czuy, Chris Lawrence and Jim Mckenzie. D’Alvise and forward Max Campbell played part of last season in Stockton, but were signed to American Hockey League contracts and were assigned to the Thunder by their AHL clubs. In mid-June, D’Alvise signed to play next season with Olimpija Ljubljana of the Austrian Hockey League.
The full list of ECHL season-ending rosters can be viewed here: