Connecticut WhaleFor young restricted free agents, whether their parent teams qualify them or not is one of the most stressful times of their career.

Get qualified and the dream continues. Don’t be qualified and you’re hitting the unemployment line looking for work.

For the New York Rangers that time has come and gone and all of their restricted free agents have found out what’s in the envelope.

Among the team’s top priorities were signing Dale Weise. Mission accomplished as the 23 year old was signed to a one-year two way deal last week.

Chad Kolarik  was also resigned by the team after having a strong second half of the season after being acquired in a trade for ex-Captain, Dane Byers.

Howlings has learned that John Mitchell, had just a terrific run with the Connecticut Whale after joining the organization at the deadline, will be announced as having signed his deal on Tuesday.

Mitchell came to the Rangers for a seventh round pick in next season’s NHL Entry Draft from the Toronto Maple Leafs for almost six seasons. The 6’1, 195 pound center from Oakville, Ontario, in just 14 games, with the Whale, logged 7g and 5a for 12pts and a plus-8. In six playoff contests with the Rangers’ AHL affiliate, Mitchell was a point a game posting 3g and 3a.

Brodie Dupont, who got his first taste of NHL action and will be entering his fifth year as a pro was also tendered by the Rangers.

Joining Dupont with a contract to sign is defenseman Stu Bickel. Both are expected to sign them shortly.

Goaltender Chad Johnson is possibly still in the mix for the Whale/Ranger as he too has been offered a contract.

Last season’s MVP, Dov Grumet-Morris’ status will depend in no small part upon what Johnson decides to do. If Johnson does sign that would give the Rangers six goaltenders with contracts in the system and the likelihood of Grumet-Morris returning would be HIGHLY unlikely.

Grumet-Morris told Howlings in an email that he doesn’t expect to know what his status will be for next season for approximately another three weeks.

For fan favorites Justin Soryal and Devin DiDiomete, both coming off hip surgery, both will be on the market looking for a new team in the fall as neither was offered a contract by the organization.

Both of those players have the type of background that the New York Islanders / Bridgeport Sound Tigers like to have on their roster. It would be no surprise to anyone if either or both of them wound up in The Park City.

Cap Geek lists Pavel Valentenko as a restricted free agent, but that information is wrong. Valentenko’s contract was subject to a “toll” (as per the Yashin decision) when he was in Montreal, and therefore he is still playing under his initial entry-level deal.


  1. Is it assumed Dowzak and McCue were also non-tendered, along with Soryal and DiDiomete? Also do you know which, if any, of these Wolf-Pack\Whale contracts extend into next season: Ringwald, Wong, McKelvie, Tessier, Garlock, Glass? I believe it was reported that Eizenman and Donati, like Dov G-M, were ECHL protected, I expect they’re not…Thanks

  2. It is my understanding that all of the players that you’re asking about were on one-year deals and are all unrestricted free agents.