GREENVILLE, S.C. — The Greenville Swamp Rabbits, led by head coach Kevin Kerr and assistant coach Kahlil Thomas, have extended qualifying offers to eight players during the 2019 offseason. The list of players includes the following:
Players signed prior to June 30 did not need to receive a qualifying offer.
The process of qualifying players puts the team in a position to retain the rights of valuable assets that can make a difference on the ice. It is a strategic measure that is included in the ECHL's Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). In lieu of a draft, which does not exist in the league, this step makes sure that teams can be largely competitive in a parity-filled league by keeping strong players in the organization.
"We wanted to retain the rights of these eight key assets as we look to solidify the core of our team heading into next season," Kerr said. "We believe we made a strong push at the end of last season and we want to bring the right people in to continue that growth. These players can help us get to that point."
These eight qualified players have until July 16 to accept the tendered qualifying offer. After July 16, the qualifying offer is considered null and void. Regardless of the outcome, the Greenville Swamp Rabbits will retain the rights of these qualified players for one season.
"We specifically protected these eight players because we knew they are valuable assets to our team," Kerr added. "However, just because certain players were not protected does not mean they aren't in consideration to return. We just need to make sure we have the right mix of players wearing a Swamp Rabbits sweater next season, and this is a strategic way to make sure that is the case."
Should a veteran player, or a goaltender that has played more than 180 regular season games had been tendered a qualifying offer and did not accept after July 16, they would become a restricted free agent (RFA). If another ECHL team offers a contract to the RFA between July 16 and August 1, the team who owns that player's rights would have the opportunity to match the offer within one week.
Subsequently, if no offer is made to the veteran RFA between July 16 and August 1, the player becomes an unrestricted free agent (UFA) after August 1 and can sign anywhere without any restrictions.
None of the veteran stipulations will apply to the Swamp Rabbits' eight qualified players, as none of them are of veteran status (260 regular season pro games played prior to the start of the 2019–20 season).