The Chicago Blackhawks did not tender a qualifying offer to forward Dennis Rasmussen before the deadline on Monday, per The Athletic’s Scott Powers and the Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Lazerus. Rasmussen will now become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
The news comes after it was reported on Monday that the Hawks had tendered a qualifying offer to Rasmussen along with Tomas Jurco, Ville Pokka, and Erik Gustafsson. In the end, it appears only the last three names received qualifying offers, which allow the Hawks to retain their rights as restricted free agents.
It’s unclear whether the Blackhawks changed their mind on Rasmussen, or something else happened to spur them to let him go.
Rasmussen, 26, established himself as a defensively responsible fourth-line forward during his time with the Blackhawks. Last season, he recorded four goals and four assists in 68 games, which saw him play a heavily defensive role.
As Powers notes, Rasmussen said following the conclusion of the 2016-17 season that he was hoping to return to Chicago. However, there was word a couple weeks ago that both sides were not close on a new contract.
If the Hawks did extend a qualifying offer to Rasmussen, he would’ve been arbitration-eligible, which may have factored into their decision. As we saw Monday when the Capitals non-tendered Brett Connolly only to re-sign him to a two-year deal hours later, it’s not a guarantee that Chicago has no interest in Rasmussen just because they’ve relinquished his RFA rights.
But this isn’t a great sign for Rasmussen’s chances of returning to the Blackhawks. He’s going to get an opportunity to see what’s out on the open market, and most likely, he’ll find some suitors after showing he can handle fourth-line minutes for a playoff team last season.