CINCINNATI, OH – The rather long off-season continues to progress in downtown Cincinnati as we have now reached the most significant stage of the roster building process in the extending of the qualifying offers.

In case you need to refresh your memory on what exactly qualifying offers are…

Each ECHL team is permitted to reserve the rights to a maximum of eight players that were included on the season ending rosters that were submitted just a couple weeks ago. Players who had already signed standard player contracts (SPC’s) for the 2017-18 season prior to June 30th did not need to be extended a qualifying offer. Players on open qualifying offers cannot be traded.

The qualifying offer is valid through August 1st, and if no progress has been made, the team may elect to sign the player to any salary or just opt to take no further action. Teams that tender a valid qualifying offer to any non-veteran will retain that player’s ECHL rights for one season.

Of the eight qualified players, no more than four can be veterans (260 or more professional games, 180 professional games in the case of goalies). A team that extends a valid qualifying offer to a veteran will retain his rights until the August 1st deadline. After that deadline passes and the veteran hasn’t signed a contract with the team, he’ll be deemed a restricted free agent (RFA), will be permitted to speak with other ECHL teams and potentially sign with them instead. RFA’s cannot be traded either.

When an RFA receives a contract offer from another ECHL team that he wishes to accept, the veteran and the offering team must notify the ECHL, the team with the player’s rights, and the Professional Hockey Players’ Association within 24 hours. The team with the veteran’s rights will then have a week after the date they’re notified to exercise their right to match the offer.

If the RFA is not signed to a contract or offer sheet by an ECHL team by August 31st, at that point in time they’ll become an unrestricted free agent (UFA) and open season is officially underway.

Back when the season ending rosters were unveiled, I took my best guess at who might be qualified by Cincinnati. My picks were Huard, Walsh, O’Donnell, Sims, Lefebvre, Knodel, Posa, and Rumpel.

Now, let’s see how I did…

The Cyclones have extended qualifying offers and retained the rights to the following players:

F Nick Huard, F Brandon McNally, F Shawn O’Donnell, F Jordan Sims, F Shane Walsh, D Craig Dalrymple, D Martin Lefebvre, and D Eric Knodel

Six out of eight picks were correct, which is shocking because usually I’m the kiss of death and bomb this kind of stuff hysterically. But nevertheless, the moment you’ve all been waiting for is just around the corner. Expect player signing announcements to begin within the next week or two.

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