Boutin, Egener, Others Not Qualified

Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune is reporting that the Tampa Bay Lightning has tendered qualifying offers to restricted free agents Ryan Craig, Justin Fletcher, and Jay Rosehill, thus retaining the club's rights on these players.

Qualifying offers were not tendered to former second round pick Mike Egener, goaltender and former third rounder Jonathan Boutin, Zbynek Hrdel, Marek Kvapil, Ryan Munce, and recently acquired defenseman Mario Scalzo Jr., making them unrestricted free agents. Kvapil and Scalzo, along with Stanislav Lascek, had already signed contracts to play with European teams next season.

For more information, including news of a possible new contract for Vincent Lecavalier and Marc Denis' buyout, click here.

BP Notes: It's a shame to see the rights to Egener and Boutin released, though there was some doubt going into the offseason that they would be retained. Both are great kids but never were able to develop as expected (Egener) or show consistent improvement (Boutin). In Egener's case, the organization tried in vain last year to move him to forward to see if he had more to offer as a grinding fourth liner.
Fletcher being retained is a bit surprising as he was dealt to Rockford (AHL) late last year. Considering he was on a one-year deal, the move seemed to indicate there may not be interest in him. With the lack of offensive defensemen in the system, it appears Fletcher was a more desired commodity. He certainly has some upside to work with.
Also, as Erlendsson pointed out, with Denis' buyout and Boutin and Munce not being qualifies, Riku Helenius is the current No.3 goaltender. He won't be come September, of course, but this looks like a clear attempt to secure an AHL spot for Helenius to be brought along into professional hockey by a free agent signing of an NHL 2-way/AHL veteran goaltender.