The Washington Capitals announced prior to Monday’s 5 PM ET deadline that they have extended qualifying offers to defenseman Tobias Geisser and forward Damien Riat. However, they did not tender and offer to goaltender Ilya Samsonov, who will become an unrestricted free agent on Wednesday.
#Caps have extended qualifying offers to forward Damien Riat and defenseman Tobias Geisser. Both players are expected to play in Europe during the 2022-23 season. #Caps elect not to issue a qualifying offer to goaltender Ilya Samsonov.
— CapitalsPR (@CapitalsPR) July 11, 2022
The Capitals could sign Samsonov as a free agent for less than they paid him last season, if they wish to retain him, but they will now have to compete with the open market to do so.
The decision not to qualify Samsonov was a financial decision. As an RFA (with arbitration rights), the #Caps projected that he’d come in at $3-$3.5 million per, which, in their view, was too much for a backup and not justified based on his performance to date.
— Tarik El-Bashir (@Tarik_ElBashir) July 11, 2022
Samsonov finished the 2021-22 regular season 23-12-5 with an .896 save percentage, a 3.02 goals-against average, and three shutouts, despite an 11-1-1 start where he posted a .916 save percentage, a 2.42 goals-against average, and three shutouts through December 9.
At five-on-five last season, Samsonov finished with a .904 save percentage (including .785 at high danger), 2.77 goals-against average, and a -11.59 goals-saved above average (-9.41 at high danger). He also earned an .855 save percentage and 0.70 goals-saved above average on the penalty kill.
Tobias Geisser, 23, reportedly signed a three-year contract with EV Zug of the Swiss League on June 25. Geisser was drafted by the Capitals in the fourth round of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. He appeared in a total of 71 games for the Bears during the 2021-22 season, in which he recorded 14 points (three goals). Geisser was a restricted free agent this summer with the Capitals.
Damien Riat, 25, decided to play for Lausanne HC in the Swiss League last season, and will return to Lausanne this fall for the 2022-23 season.
What Are Qualifying Offers?
A Qualifying Offer is an official Standard Player Contract (SPC) offer which is for one year in length, which can be subject to salary arbitration should the player be eligible. Team’s have until the later of June 25th or the first Monday after the NHL Entry Draft to submit Qualifying Offers. [Note: The 2022 NHL Entry Draft is scheduled for July 7, so the following Monday makes the deadline July 11.]
Submitting a Qualifying Offer gives the club the right of first refusal to match any “offer sheet” submitted by another team or receive draft pick compensation. If the player rejects the qualifying offer, they remain an RFA and their rights are retained by the team.
The qualifying offer is calculated from the players base salary (NHL salary minus signing bonus), and at minimum must meet the season’s minimum salary requirements. The requirements for 2022 according to CapFriendly:
- 110% of the base salary if the base salary is less than or equal to $660,000
- 105% of the base salary if the base salary is greater than $660,000 or less than $1,000,000. However, this qualifying offer cannot exceed $1,000,000.
- 100% of the base salary if the base salary is equal to or greater than $1,000,000.
- CBA Reference 10.2 (a) (ii).
Unrestricted Free Agents
Right-wing Marcus Johansson, left-wing Johan Larsson, defenseman Justin Schultz, defenseman Michal Kempny, and defenseman Matt Irwin will all join Samsonov and become unrestricted free agents at 12 noon ET on Wednesday. The Capitals currently have $8,978,334 available in cap space.
By Harrison Brown