OK - so it's a molehill.. but it's a really fucking big one.
According to TSN - The Players Association has filed a grievance on behalf of Kris Versteeg and Cam Barker based on the qualifying offer mishap and will argue they should be ruled UFAs.
So now the league can agree with the PA - and the Hawks are screwed. Or they can disagree and the case will move to a hearing - and the Hawks might still be screwed. The league will almost certainly disagree with the Players Association so we're bound for some fun "hearings".
The Hawks likely won't be able to afford either player if they hit the open market. It wasn't even a sure thing they could afford them both if they remained RFAs. If they do become UFA's though the Hawks lose any rights to draft picks given up when a team signs a RFA from a team. One of them is certainly going to look to get paid and smart money is on Versteeg to be the one who bolts.
It ain't all bad news though - There's also news that Troy Brouwer, Corey Crawford, Ben Eager, Colin Fraser and surprisingly, Aaron Johnson have all signed new contracts.
Brouwer and Crawford were given two-year deals, everyone else gets a one year contract.
Chris Block over at Third Man In says the numbers for the contracts are $700K for Fraser, $956K for Eager (Double Nickels on the Dime from here on out), and Brouwer gets $1.025M for each of this two years. No word on $ amount for the other two contracts but Allan Walsh says Johnson's deal is a one-way deal.
Don't get your hopes up just because the Hawks were able to sign three of "The Chicago Five" (Ever heard of the Seattle seven? That was me... and 6 other guys). With all the money that could potentially be on the table now, Versteeg and Barker are almost certain to wait to see what happens with the hearing now - or they should fire their agents. And if their agent is Allan Walsh, they should probably fire him anyway...
According to Darren Dreger - The Hawks got some good news today when Barker signed an extention with the Hawks for 3 years - $9.25 M. That's a 3.08 M cap hit which is probably less than he could have recieved from the open market. This is probably yet another sign that our time with Versteeg is probably done - which is upsetting since he was such a fun player to watch last year, both on and off the ice. We'll still keep an eye out for any news about him though...
This whole situation does say a lot about the future of the Hawks though. Any one of the players signed today probably left money out there if they had decided to push it - especially the ones that could have joined in with the grievance and tried to become UFAs. Getting players to take less to play here (or at least agree to long term deals like Hossa's) is the way to keep a strong team despite the salary cap.
Things are certainly different, eh? Who thought this day would come...