With the 2011 NHL Draft in the books and free agency opening July 1, the Colorado Avalanche had several decisions to make on restricted free agents before the deadline. Adrian Dater of the Denver Post broke the news earlier today on Twitter.
Avs fail to qualify Brian Elliott and Pascal Dupuis. Cumiskey, Wilson, Jones, OByrne, Galiardi and Porter are qualified
There are very few surprises on this list. Forwards David Jones and Kevin Porter had excellent seasons and were virtually guaranteed of receiving a qualifying offer from the Colorado front office. TJ Galiardi will remain a reasonably priced bottom six forward with the flexibility to play as a top six forward for short periods of time. Defensemen Ryan Wilson and Ryan O'Byrne are decent lower pairing, physical defenders and were likely easy decisions for qualifying offers as well. Kyle Cumiskey, a speedy defenseman who missed much of last season with multiple injuries, has also been given an offer -- showing the Avalanche front office likes his play and feels he deserves another season.
Of the two non-qualifiers, Dupuis is the most surprising. (Dater obviously means Philippe Dupuis in his tweet.) Though he displayed impressive tenacity and decent penalty kill skills, Dupuis was a victim of the logjam at center. With Matt Duchene, Paul Stastny, Ryan O'Reilly, and Jay McClement all on the planned roster for Opening Night -- and 2010 first round selection Joey Hishon knocking down the door -- there was simply no more room for Dupuis. Without a qualifying offer, all other NHL teams are able to trade for his rights before the beginning of free agency.
Lastly, goalie Brian Elliott will not be returning to the Avalanche. The goalie was acquired from the Ottawa Senators at the deadline last spring in exchange for Craig Anderson, and given the last two months as an audition for one of the two goalie positions for the 2011-2012 season. Elliott did not do enough to impress Colorado management and will have to hope he finds a position in free agency. The Avalanche will now have to fill both goalie positions this summer out of organization -- either by acquiring another goalie's rights via trade or by shopping in free agency.