The Wichita Thunder offered qualifying offers to eight players on Wednesday.
Each team was entitled to reserve the rights to a maximum of eight qualified players. Of the eight qualified players, no more than four could be veterans (260 regular season professional hockey games played as of the start of the upcoming 2015-16 season).
The players on open qualifying offers cannot be traded and must remain open for acceptance until Aug. 1, at which time the qualifying offer becomes null and void and the team may sign the qualified player to any salary or may elect to take no further action. Teams that extend a valid qualifying offer to a non-veteran player shall retain the rights to that qualified player for one playing season.
A team that extends a valid qualifying offer to a veteran player will retain the rights to that veteran until Aug. 1. After Aug. 1, if the veteran player is not signed to a contract by the team, the veteran shall be deemed a restricted free agent and shall be entitled to seek and secure offers of employment from other ECHL teams. Restricted free agents may not be traded.
Players who had already signed a contract by June 30 did not need to receive a qualifying offer.
In describing the qualifying offers process, Wichita Thunder Head Coach Kevin McClelland said he wanted to offer players who “have the most value to the hockey club or have the most value to trade.”
Of the eight qualifying offers, four are defensemen, four are forwards. The breakdown, along with last season’s stats is as follows:
Defensemen: Theo Peckham (26 GP, 2G, 6A, 46 PIM)
Dalton Reum (26 GP, 1G, 1A, 46 PIM)
Michael Trebish (70 GP, 1G, 8A, 173 PIM)
Mike Wilson (72 GP, 13G, 37A, 55 PIM)
Forwards: Justin Bernhardt (28 GP, 15G, 15A, 30 pts)
Stephen Schultz (12 GP, 3G, 10A, 13 pts)
Jared Walker (72 GP, 12G, 21A, 33 pts)
Garrett Klotz (8 GP, 1G, 7 PIM)
When describing the defensemen who received offers, McClelland spoke highly of Dalton Reum.
“He does the little things you don’t see on a scoresheet. He hits, stands up for his teammates…he is hard to play against.”
There is void to fill when it comes to the offensive defenseman position on the blue line. Mike Wilson signed to play in Belfast in the EIHL last week.
When it comes to building the team for next season, McClelland said it was a “process,” but that it was going well. He says the process to recruit players to Wichita is ongoing.
“Wichita is a great place to play. The fans should have a team they can be proud of.”