The Maine Mariners have issued qualifying offers to seven players, completing the ECHL rights protection process for 2020-2021. As well, the unrestricted free agency period has begun. The seven players issued qualifying offers by the Mariners on Wednesday are listed below:
Forward (1): Ryan Ferrill.
Defensemen (5): Jonathan Racine, Gabriel Sylvestre, Josh Couturier, Austin McEneny and Dallas Rossiter.
Goaltenders (1): Francois Brassard.
Even though a qualifying offer isn’t equal to a signing, a qualifying offer ensures that those players cannot play for another ECHL team in 2020-21 unless their rights are traded. Players who had already signed a contract by June 30 didn’t need to receive a qualifying offer.
Each ECHL team was entitled to reserve the rights to eight players at a maximum. Of those eight players, no more than four could be veterans. Players on open qualifying offers are not eligible to be traded.
The qualifying offer must remain open for acceptance until July 16th, at which time, the qualifying offer is voided. The team may sign the qualified player to any salary or may elect to take no further action. Teams that extend a qualifying offer to a non-veteran player shall retain the rights to that qualified player for one playing season.
A team that issues a qualifying offer to a veteran player, or to a goaltender who has played more than 180 regular season games, will retain the rights to that player until July 16th. After that date, if the veteran player or goaltender is not signed to a contract by the team, the player will 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.
When a restricted free agent is given a contract offer from a team other than the team with player’s rights, and that player wishes to accept the contract offer, the restricted free agent and the offering member must, within 24 hours, notify the ECHL, the team with the player’s rights and the Professional Hockey Players’ Association. The member with the player’s rights will have seven days after the date is notified to exercise its right to match the contract offer.
If a restricted free agent isn’t signed to an offer sheet or contract by an ECHL team by August 1st, the player shall be deemed an unrestricted free agent.