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Ilya Samsonov, Strome, Kubalik among RFAs to not get qualifying offers

NHL Free Agendy

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 13: Goalie Ilya Samsonov #30 of the Washington Capitals reacts after allowing the game-winning goal against the Florida Panthers during overtime in Game Six of the First Round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Capital One Arena on May 13, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

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The Washington Capitals could be plotting a significant overhaul to their goalie situation this offseason.

Just a couple of days after trading Vitek Vanecek to the New Jersey Devils, the Capitals decided on Monday to not extend a qualifying offer to restricted free agent goalie Ilya Samsonov before the deadline to do so, allowing him to become an unrestricted free agent on Wednessday.

Samsonov is one of the most prominent players to not receive a qualifying offer before Monday’s 5 p.m. ET deadline.

The Capitals could still bring him back at a rate lower than the qualifying offer or arbitration case would have been, but it also opens the door for the Capitals to make a bold move in free agency with a veteran like Darcy Kuemper or Jack Campbell. Goaltending has been one of the big Achilles Heels for the Capitals the past two years and they seem to be going in a different direction.

Chicago’s rebuild continues

The Chicago Blackhawks are not messing around with this rebuild. After trading Alex DeBrincat and Kirby Dach at the NHL draft (and Marc-Andre Fleury and Brandon Hagel at the NHL trade deadline), the Blackhawks did not extend qualifying offers to veteran forwards Dominik Kubalik or Dylan Strome on Monday.

The decision with Kubalik is not a huge surprise as he would have required a $4 million qualifying offer and had a strong arbitration case. That is money the Blackhawks probably did not want to spend on a one-dimensional scorer that really has not been a great goal scorer since his rookie season.

Not-tendering a qualifying offer to Strome is a little more surprising. He has been a good player since joining the Blackhawks and will probably have a strong market in free agency.

In the end, an already thin Chicago roster gets even thinner.

Penguins choose Kasperi Kapanen over Danton Heinen

The Penguins had two big decisions to make regarding Kasperi Kapanen and Danton Heinen, and in the end decided to extend a qualifying offer to Kapanen while allowing Heinen to become an unrestricted free agent.

Heinen, having scored 18 goals a year ago, would have had a very strong arbitration case and probably could have earned a larger contract than the cap-strapped Penguins want to commit.

Kapanen has been a bit of a disappointment since arriving in Pittsburgh, but did have a strong finish to the regular season and a strong playoff showing.

Toronto’s Ondrej Kase among other notable players to not receive overs

• Kase was a really strong bargain signing for the Maple Leafs in 2021-22, scoring 14 goals in 50 games. But the Maple Leafs are moving on as they desperately need to create some salary cap space to address their goalie situation.

• The Colorado Avalanche did not extend an offer to Nicolas Aube-Kubel. He scored 11 goals and 11 assists in 67 games for the team.

• The Los Angeles Kings did not extend a qualifying offer to Brenden Lemieux.

• The Winnipeg Jets did not extend an offer to forward Evgeny Svechnikov.

• Sonny Milano and Sam Steel did not receive offers from the Anaheim Ducks.