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Cheechoo, Kotalik among those placed on waivers

On the afternoon that NHL teams are required to file qualifying offers for their restricted free agents, we have news of a number of players who have been placed on waivers and will become UFA’s on July 1.

Jonathan Cheecho (Ottawa), Petteri Nokelainen and Jim Vandermeer (Phoenix), Ville Koistinen (Florida) and Alex Kotalik of the Calgary Flames were all placed on waivers, with their respective teams expecting to buy out their contracts if they do indeed clear waivers. They could also be picked up by another team, who would then be on the hook for the rest of their contract.

The two most notable names on that list are Cheechoo and Kotalik. Kotalik was nothing but a looming disappointment in New York and Calgary last season, with just three goals with the Flames after he was acquired from the Rangers via trade. If the Flames don’t buy him out, he may be reassigned to the AHL or Europe.

For Cheechoo, it’s likely he spends next season in the AHL. If the Senators do buy out his contract, it’s going to be tough for the winger to get a one-way contract after several years of struggling offensively. He had just five goals in 61 games last season, just five years out from leading in the NHL in goals scored.