Hawks sign restricted free agents

Updated: July 6, 2009, 11:02 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks resolved some of the administrative problems surrounding their restricted free agents by signing six of those players on Monday.

The Blackhawks announced they had agreed to two-year deals with forward Troy Brouwer and goaltender Corey Crawford. Forwards Ben Eager and Colin Fraser, and defenseman Aaron Johnson each signed one-year contracts.

The team also signed defenseman Cam Barker to a three-year extension, worth $9.25 million. Barker had six goals and 34 assists in 68 games.

Notably absent from the list of signed players was forward Kris Versteeg, an NHL rookie-of-the-year finalist.

Although it's unlikely, Versteeg could be declared an unrestricted free agent in light of a grievance filed by the NHL Players' Association (NHLPA) on Monday.

ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun reported on Monday that Brouwer will receive $2.05 million and Crawford $1.6 million in their two-year deals. Eager gets $965,000, Fraser $700,000 and Johnson Johnson $540,000 on their one-year deals.

"The National Hockey League Players' Association confirms today that it has filed a grievance regarding the failure of the Chicago Blackhawks to submit qualifying offers to its 2009 restricted free agents prior to the deadline stipulated in the CBA," the NHLPA said in a statement. The NHLPA said the case is pending before an arbitrator.

NHL teams had until June 29 to qualify their restricted free agents. Tendering a qualifying offer enables a player's team the right to match any offer he receives from another club.

Last week, Blackhawks general manager Dale Tallon said that offers had been tendered to all seven of Chicago's restricted free agents.

But published reports surfaced that the offers -- commonly sent to players and their agents via courier and to the NHL via fax -- hadn't arrived in time.

On Sunday, the NHL concluded a brief investigation of the possible administrative mistake without taking any action. A delivery delay could have been caused by the Canada Day holiday on July 1 and U.S. Independence Day on July 4.

"I am aware of the grievance filed by the NHLPA," Tallon said Monday in a prepared statement. "We are respectfully working with the NHL, NHLPA, our players and their representatives so that we can resolve this as soon as possible."

If Tallon can sign Versteeg, the grievance could become moot. Last season, Versteeg has 22 goals and 31 assists in 78 games to rank fourth in team scoring.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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