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Deadline for qualifying offers is today; Ladd, Niemi safe with Hawks

Today is the deadline for teams to give qualifying offers to their restricted free agents, otherwise they become unrestricted free agents on July 1.

This year, we’re expected a large number of RFA’s to hit the open market this week as teams face some salary cap and roster crunches.

The qualifying offers are already starting to to pour in, but teams have until 5 p.m. EDT today to get the offers filed with the NHL. Not risking making the same mistake as last year, the Chicago Blackhawks have already filed their offers for Andrew Ladd, Antti Niemi and Niklas Hjalmarsson.

It was going to be interesting to see how Chicago handled their RFA’s, and Stan Bowman has gone ahead and decided he needed to keep the three RFA’s at the top of the Hawks’ list.

Generally, the RFA’s not receiving offers by teams are minor league players or prospects. Sometimes, an NHL player isn’t tendered and hits the open market and joins the pool of free agents. We’ll have that full list available for you later tonight.