ECHL: Adirondack Thunder Announce 2024 Qualifying Offers

Cody Conine/InsideTheRink

The Adirondack Thunder have announced that they have given eight players qualifying offers, which is the league’s maximum. Two of those eight players have already decided to take the overseas route. Players who have already signed for the 2024-25 season don’t need to be given qualifying offers. Here are the rules of the qualifying offers:

Each team was entitled to reserve the rights to a maximum of eight qualified players. Of the eight qualified players, no more than four could be veterans (260 regular season professional hockey games played as of the start of the upcoming 2024-25 season). Players on open qualifying offers cannot be traded.

The qualifying offer must remain open for acceptance until July 22 at which time the qualifying offer becomes null and void and the team may sign the qualified player to any salary or may elect to take no further action. Teams that extend a valid qualifying offer to a non-veteran player shall retain the rights to that qualified player for one playing season.

A team that extends a valid qualifying offer to a veteran player, or to a goaltender who has played more than 180 regular-season games, will retain the rights to that player until July 22. After July 22, if the veteran player or goaltender is not signed to a contract by the team, the player shall be deemed a restricted free agent and shall be entitled to seek and secure offers of employment from other ECHL teams. Restricted free agents may not be traded. When a restricted free agent receives a contract offer from a team other than the team with the player’s rights and the restricted free agent wishes to accept the contract offer, the restricted free agent and the offering member must, within 24 hours, notify the ECHL, the team with the player’s rights and the Professional Hockey Players’ Association. The member with the player’s rights shall have seven days after the date it is notified to exercise its right to match the contract offer.

Players Who Received Qualifying Offers

Cody Conine/InsideTheRink

Patrick GrassoAs noted earlier, Grasso has taken the overseas route to play in Austria for the 2024-25 season, so giving Grasso a QO allows Adirondack to continue to hold his rights in the event that he comes back. The 28-year-old forward spent three seasons with the Thunder, playing in 171 games, putting up 84 goals and 58 assists for 142 points; he had a shortened 2023-24 season where he only played in 39 games due to an injury. He is the franchise leader in goals for the Thunder with 84.

Ryan Smith– There’s no question that Smith has gotten better every year he’s been with the Thunder, and it paid off last year, where he put up 27 goals and 23 assists for 50 points in 69 games. Smith is a strong two-way forward for Adirondack and is a massive part of the teams penalty kill. I would expect Smith to be a guy who could start on the top line for Adirondack next season.

Tristan Ashbrook– There’s no question that the Thunder should be happy that Ashbrook has decided to stay in North America, as a lot of top scorers have taken the overseas route this off-season. Ashbrook had an incredible rookie year with Adirondack, putting up 32 goals and 25 assists for 57 points in 69 games. Those 32 goals led Adirondack during the 2023-24 season. He should easily be a part of the Thunder’s top line heading into next season.

Travis Broughman– If there’s one player who’s going to be eager to have a bounce-back season next year on the Thunder, it would be Broughman. Despite not having a great year offensively during the 2023-24 season, Broughman is a big body that can play that can play down the middle and give Adirondack a little more toughness and could be a solid fit on the bottom six.

Mac Welsher– The Adirondack Thunder had a lot of players who they signed late in the season and made an impact right away, and Welsher was one of them. Coming out of Merrimack College, where he up four goals and nine assists for 13 points in 30 games for the Warriors, he would add three goals and three assists for six points in 13 games with Adirondack at the end of the regular season and added five assists in 15 games during the Kelly Cup Playoffs. The 25-year-old center would be a solid depth piece for the Thunder if they decide to sign him.

Connor BlakeDespite going overseas, Blake is a player that head coach Pete MacArthur would want back if Blake decides to come back to North America. The Calgary native is a guy who can play either end of the ice and has some upside offensively.

Matt Stief– Despite not playing much in the Kelly Cup Playoffs, Stief has been a big part of the Thunder blueline the past two seasons and has provided a spark for the team from the blueline. I would easily expect Stief to be a guy who could fit in nicely on the top four for Adirondack and be a guy they look to pick up a big chunk of minutes next season.

Vinnie Purpura– Goaltending was a big part of the Thunder’s success during the 2023-24 season, and a big part of that was due to Purpura’s play. He would go 15-4-4 with a 2.78 GAA, .908SV%, and one shutout. For the second year his season would be cut short due to an injury. Heading into next season expect Purpura to once again be the only ECHL contracted goalie on the Thunder roster as Tyler Brennan will likely be back as the Thunder may get another young prospect or goalie who signs an AHL deal with Utica.

Armand Klisivitch

Inside The Rink ECHL Manager | Senior Editor Credentialed Reporter for the Adirondack Thunder & Worcester Railers.

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