Weber, three first-rounders among those Preds give qualifying offers

Monday, June 25, 2012 at 4:09pm

The Nashville Predators announced Monday that they have made qualifying offers to 10 players, including captain Shea Weber and three former first-round draft picks, Alexander Radulov (2004), Jonathon Blum (2007) and Colin Wilson (2008).

All of those players will be restricted free agents when the 2012-13 contract year begins Sunday.

The offers guarantee the franchise negotiating rights with the players, any of whom could be signed to an offer sheet by other franchises. Nashville has the opportunity to match any offer a player receives. If it chooses not to do so it will receive compensation in the form of draft picks based on the size and length of the contract.

The complete list of those who received qualifying offers is: Weber, Radulov, Blum, Wilson, left wing Sergei Kostitsyn, goalie Atte Engren, defenseman Teemu Laakso, forward Jack Maclellan, goalie Jeremy Smith and forward Ryan Thang.

Weber, Kostitsyn. Laakso, Thang and Engren all have arbitration rights, if they choose to pursue that option.

The franchise has said it will not re-sign Radulov. Team officials expect he will return to the Kontinental Hockey League, but he still has the option to pursue a deal — and possibly a trade — to another team.

Engren already has a contract to play in Europe next season.

The qualifying offers guarantee that those players will remain property of the Predators and, therefore, assets.

Qualifying offers were not extended to defenseman Jack Hillen, who appeared in 55 games for Nashville last season, and tough guy Zach Stortini, who opened the season with the Predators but was reassigned to Milwaukee when Brian McGrattan, an unrestricted free agent, was claimed off waivers.

Hillen and Stortini, consequently, will be unrestricted free agents.