Colborne, Ortio among Flames restricted free agents given qualifying offers

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The Hockey News

The Hockey News

CALGARY - The Calgary Flames have made qualifying offers to six of their restricted free agents.

Defencemen Chad Billins and Mark Cundari, centres Lance Bouma and Joe Colborne, right-winger Ben Hanowski and goaltender Joni Ortio were extended qualifying offers, according to a release on the Flames website.

Centre Paul Byron, left-winger T.J. Galiardi, right-winger David Eddy, defenceman James Martin and goalie Olivier Roy were not given offers.

Teams give qualifying offers in order to retain negotiating rights with the player.

Bouma produced five goals and 10 assists in 78 games for the Flames. Colborne posted 10 goals and 18 assists in 80 games for Calgary.

Billins led Calgary's American Hockey League team in scoring by a defenceman with 10 goals and 31 assists. Cundari, who was acquired in a deal that sent Jay Bouwmeester to St. Louis last year, had nine goals and 14 assists in 56 AHL games.

The Flames acquired Hanowski last year in the deal that send captain Jarome Iginla to Pittsburgh. Hanowski compiled 13 goals and 18 assists in 55 AHL games.

Ortio's record was 4-4 for the Flames and 27-8-2 in the AHL.

Also, the Flames put defenceman Shane O'Brien on unconditional waivers in order to buy out his contract.

O'Brien split the past season between the Flames and their American Hockey League affiliate. He had three assists in 45 games and was minus-8 in 45 games for Calgary. O'Brien's NHL salary next season would be $2.2 million.

The Flames acquired the 30-year-old from Port Hope, Ont., just over a year ago in a deal that sent forward Alex Tanguay and defenceman Cory Sarich to Colorado for O'Brien and right-winger David Jones.

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