The Kings have yet to decide if they are going to tender a $2.45MM qualifying offer to RFA winger Tobias Rieder, GM Rob Blake told Jon Rosen of LA Kings Insider. It appears that the final decision on what to do with him won’t come until right before the 4 PM CST deadline on June 25th:
“That’s going to come to a decision probably right before the period, whether we offer that qualifying offer or not – whether we change the look or acquire a player on our team or what we look like after the draft. It’s kind of a holding pattern for us right now with him.”
Rieder was acquired from the Coyotes back in February as part of the return for backup goalie Darcy Kuemper. However, he wasn’t particularly productive with his new team, posting just four goals and two assists in 20 regular season games while being held off the scoresheet in four postseason contests. Looked at on its own, that type of production doesn’t justify a qualifying offer.
However, the 25-year-old has been more productive with Arizona previously. While he wound up with just 25 points in 2017-18, he tallied 37 points back in 2015-16 and 34 in 2016-17. Players with those types of numbers are worth that type of money which complicates things. Was this past season a blip on the radar with an expectation that he’ll return to his previous form or a sign of things to come? What Blake and the Kings ultimately decide to do will indicate which of those they believe to be true.
Even if they don’t qualify Rieder, that doesn’t necessarily mean that he won’t be back next season. It is becoming an increasingly common practice for teams to non-tender arbitration-eligible players and then try to negotiate a new deal at a lower salary which is an avenue they could certainly consider. If they are leaning towards going in that direction, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the team try to shop him to see if someone else wants him first. With the qualifying offer deadline now just a few days away, Rieder’s case is certainly one of the more intriguing ones left to watch for.