The Nashville Predators have extended qualifying offers to seven forwards -- Matt Halischuk
, Linus Klasen
, Sergei Kostitsyn
, Chris Mueller
, Cal O'Reilly, Nick Spaling
and Andreas Thuresson. In doing so the Preds retain a right of first refusal should any of the seven agree to terms with another NHL team.
Kostitsyn and O'Reilly spent the entire season with the NHL squad with Kostitsyn leading the team in goals (23) and tying for the team lead in points (50). O'Reilly was among the team's leaders in points when he suffered a season-ending leg injury in early January.
Spaling was recalled from Milwaukee on October 18 and became a regular in the lineup the remainder of the season, scoring one of the biggest goals in franchise history -- the series-clinching goal in Game Six of Nashville's first round win over the Anaheim Ducks. Halischuk, Spaling's former junior hockey teammate, split the season between the AHL and NHL, scoring four goals and 12 points in 27 games with the Preds and then netting the overtime winner in Game Two of the second round series at Vancouver.
Klasen, Mueller and Thuresson all saw action for both Milwaukee and Nashville over the course of the season, providing key organizational depth.
In similar news, the Predators filed team elected arbitration with defenseman Shea Weber
, meaning that Nashville not only retains Weber's rights but also prevents any other team from extending him an offer. The Preds will continue to negotiate with Weber, but if no deal is worked out, the arbitration date will serve as a fall back to ensure that Weber has a deal well in advance of Training Camp.