The Bruins have yet to sign their key restricted free agents to long-term deals, but the club did extend them qualifying offers by the 5 p.m. Tuesday deadline.
The offers let the Bruins maintain negotiating rights with Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo, and Danton Heinen, three 23-and-under building blocks who are due hefty second contracts.
All the offers were for one year and less than $1 million. None was likely to be accepted. Instead, the team will continue to bargain with the players this summer. In doing so, they likely will use most of what CapFriendly estimates is $12 million in cap space.
McAvoy, who got a qualifying offer of $971,250, could be in the $7 million range with his next deal, depending on the length of the deal. Carlo could push $3 million-$4 million. Heinen could earn north of $2 million.
The Bruins, who open development camp on Wednesday in Brighton, did not confirm it made the offers. It is unclear whether four other RFAs — Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, Peter Cehlarik, Gemel Smith, and Ryan Fitzgerald — were given qualifying offers.
The players have until Dec. 1 to sign, or they cannot play in the NHL this season. General manager Don Sweeney has expressed confidence he will get all three signed this summer.
He said at last weekend’s draft in Vancouver that the RFAs were his first priority.
“In a perfect world, you’d have those things tied up,’’ Sweeney said. “You guys know we’ve been negotiating with a couple of those guys, all three of them, for well over a year. Sometimes it just doesn’t have a timeline, other than Dec. 1, and if they want to play hockey.
“But those guys will be playing for the Boston Bruins at some point next year, it’s just a matter of trying to find the common ground and we’re going to work like hell to get it done.’’