The Islanders reported via Twitter and their website that forward Matt Martin and defenseman Ty Wishart did not accept their qualifying offers, and thus remain restricted free agents.
So for those of you unfamiliar with RFA status, what does this mean?
Well, a number of things can happen, according to About.com. Another team will be able to extend an offer sheet to Martin or Wishart, which the Isles will have to respond to (either by matching the offer or letting the player walk) within seven days. Offer sheets are relatively rare in the NHL these days, so no telling if that will happen.
Arbitration was also an option (basically re-negotiation of the offer between player/agent and original team), but the deadline for that was over a week ago, and as far as I can tell there was no mention of either Martin or Wishart going. A follower of mine on Twitter clarified, “No arbitration. The Isles have a no-contract, no-play policy, so they sit [until a contract is done].”
So… I guess we all sit on our hands until this is all worked out. Mind you, both players have until December 1 to make up their mind on whether to play or not (for the Isles, the deadline is the start of the season), otherwise they can’t play for the rest of the year. Slightly frustrating, but nothing seems outwardly negative just yet, so we shall see.
UPDATE: (7/18/12) The Isles announced that Wishart has agreed to terms on a one-year, two-way deal with the club. One down, one to go, and Ty joins the fray of prospects aiming for the #6 D spot on the team (Aaron Ness, Matt Donovan, and Calvin de Haan among them).