The Tampa Bay Lightning announced today that they had extended qualifying offers to five of their eight pending restricted free agents. Defensemen Keith Aulie
, Brian Lee
, Brendan Mikkelson
, and Evan Oberg
along with goaltender Jaroslav Janus
received the required offers to guarantee the Bolts retain exclusive rights to these players. It is expected that Tampa will come to terms with contract extensions with these five players sometime during the summer.
Recently required goaltender Anders Lindback
received a qualifying offer from the Nashville Predators prior to his trade to the Lightning last week.
Defenseman Sebastien Piche
and forward Benoit Pouliot
were not tendered qualifying offers, and will be unrestricted free agents on July 1. Pouliot was acquired Saturday from the Boston Bruins during the 2012 NHL Draft, and is expected to sign an extension with the Bolts prior to start of the NHL free agency signing period on Sunday. Pouliot has arbitration rights as a pending restricted free agent, and the Lightning's decision not to qualify Pouliot is speculated as a means to circumvent Pouliot electing player arbitration later this summer.