Sunday, July 31, 2005

Thornton and Samsonov Qualified

The Bruins extended qualifying offers to Joe Thornton, Sergei Samsonov and eleven other players just a few hours before the deadline. Why did the Bruins give Thornton a qualifying offer when they just offered him a five year contract a few days ago?

Here's how it works. Joe Thornton did not accept the five-year deal, but the Bruins want him back. So they give him a qualifying offer. Thornton does not have to accept this, but if he tries to sign with another team, the Bruins have the right to match the offer. If they do not, they get compensation, in the form of draft picks.

What does this all mean in practical terms? It looks like Joe Thornton will be heading back to the Bruins for another year. They will not let him get away unless some team offers him $7+ million, which they won't. He will have one last year in Boston and then will become an unrestricted free agent next summer.