No qualifying offer yet for Hawks' Ladd

Updated: June 26, 2010, 12:46 AM ET
By Jesse Rogers | ESPNChicago.com

With Monday's deadline approaching for NHL teams to extend qualifying offers to restricted free agents, the Chicago Blackhawks did make one to Stanley Cup winning goaltender Antti Niemi, a source said on Friday.

But the Hawks had not yet made an offer to winger Andrew Ladd, another source close to the situation said.

If restricted free agents don't receiver a qualifying offer by Monday, they become unrestricted free agents on July 1.

At the NHL draft Thursday night Stan Bowman would not confirm or deny who has recieved qualifying offers from the Hawks. "I dont want to get into that right now but yeah, we're on top of the qualifying offers. I'll put it that way," Bowman said.

The Hawks, who continue to look for ways to free themselves from salary cap restraints, can trade the rights to Ladd by Monday.

Chicago, which won its first Stanley Cup since 1961 this season, traded Dustin Byfuglien to the Atlanta Thrashers in a multiplayer deal on Wednesday in another cost-cutting move.

After day 1 of the draft was complete Bowman reiterated that the Blackhawks do not necessarily have to shed any more salary, but that isn't stopping them from talking deals with other teams.

"We're still talking to some teams," Bowman said from the floor of the Staples Center."There's a lot of talk going on. You don't know how serious some guys are. We'll see. A lot of guys have been asked for."

Besides Ladd, Kris Versteeg is the most likely to go if the Hawks make another deal before Monday.

Bowman said he is supposed to meet with Cristobal Huet's agent during the draft weekend to start discussing what to do with him and his contract.

Huet will make in excess of $5.6 million next season, making him too expensive to back up Niemi.

The options include buying him out or sending him to the minors or even to Europe. The latter two choices would still pay Huet his full salary but it would not count against the salary cap.

Jordan Hendry and Niklas Hjalmarsson are the Blackhawks' other restricted free agents. A source said while Hendry didn't get a qualifying offer, the Blackhawks are in talks to re-sign him.

Jesse Rogers covers the Blackhawks for ESPNChicago.com.

Jesse Rogers | email

Chicago Cubs beat reporter
Jesse joined ESPN Chicago in September 2009 and covers the Chicago Cubs for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN Radio 1000.

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