The Penguins made qualifying offers to most of their restricted free agents Monday, allowing only a pair of minor league defensemen to head to unrestricted free agency.
The Penguins made offers to Justin Schultz, Brian Dumoulin, Conor Sheary, Josh Archibald, Derrick Pouliot, Frankie Corrado and Jean-Sebastien Dea. They let Stuart Percy and Tim Erixon walk.
Making qualifying offers is a procedural move that allows the Penguins to retain negotiating rights to the players.
They can sign their one-year qualifying offers, but in most cases, they engage in further contract talks with the team.
Schultz, Dumoulin, Sheary and Archibald have the right to declare for arbitration by July 5, but the much more likely outcome is that the Penguins and the players agree to multi-year contracts before then.
Schultz, Dumoulin and Sheary are key players in line for sizeable raises. Determining how much they will make will allow general manager Jim Rutherford to have a clearer understanding of how close his team is to the salary cap.
Prospect camp roster
The Penguins announced a roster of 40 players who will participate in the team’s prospect development camp this week in Cranberry.
The roster includes top prospect Daniel Sprong, Austin Lemieux, the 21-year-old son of Mario Lemieux who has committed to play at Arizona State, all six selections from Saturday’s NHL draft and 15 unsigned and undrafted players invited to camp on tryouts.
The most notable tryouts include a trio of regional college standouts: Brady Ferguson of Robert Morris and Chase Berger and Andrew Sturtz of Penn State.
Ferguson, a 6-foot winger, was one of the top scorers in college hockey last season with 58 points in 38 games as a junior for the Colonials.
Sturtz led Penn State with 22 goals last season. Berger had 36 points in 39 games. Both were sophomores.
Less than a week after he was selected by the Vegas Golden Knights in the NHL expansion draft, goalie Marc-Andre Fleury wrote a thank-you letter to Penguins fans in the Players’ Tribune.
“We have become Pittsburghers,” Fleury wrote. “My wife graduated from Robert Morris University, my daughters were born at Magee-Womens Hospital (sorry our commercial has been blasting on your TVs for more than a year), and our first house was in Moon. Pittsburgh and its people will forever be in our hearts.”
Fleury admitted he had a hard time saying goodbye to friend and longtime teammate Sidney Crosby.
“I know we were both trying to avoid it,” Fleury wrote. “You’re the best. Next time we face each other, make sure you keep your head up. The poke check will be coming.”
Head scout leaves
The Penguins lost a key member of their front office when director of amateur scouting Randy Sexton was hired away by the Buffalo Sabres. Sexton will serve as assistant general manager with the Sabres and will act as GM of the team’s AHL club in Rochester.
Sexton was hired by new Sabres general manager Jason Botterill, the former assistant GM of the Penguins.
“Randy and I developed a positive working relationship during our time in Pittsburgh, and I think his experience and insight will be advantageous for our front office,” Botterill said in a press release.
Sexton has been with the Penguins since 2010, acting in his current capacity as architect of the team’s drafts for the last two years. Earlier in his career, he was general manager of the Ottawa Senators and Florida Panthers.
Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at [email protected] or via Twitter at @BombulieTrib.