This is CBA formality. While we think of these draftees' rights as being automatically held for two years, in actuality keeping them for that second year requires extending a minimum "bona fide" offer, due each year by June 1.
In slightly more significant but still no less expected news today, Arthur Staple of Newsday re-iterates that no offers will be made to keep Brenden Kichton and Mitchell Theoret, the last two Islanders picks from the 2011 draft.
Previous picks who have been allowed to walk like this include 2010 5th-round pick Tony Dehart and 2008 6th-round pick Jared Spurgeon, who has become a regular with the Minnesota Wild. One pick who went down to the wire but was signed before the deadline was 2008 4th-rounder David Ullstrom.
Theoret, a physical forward who produced much more at age 19 in this OHL season both for Niagara and after his trade to Barrie, was a longshot.
Kichton, the offensive defenseman Spokane franchise record-breaker (Brian McCabe's, in fact) who led all defensemen in scoring, was more promising but also hadn't been expected to sign ever since Staple reported he had rejected an earlier Islanders offer.
If the Isles really wanted Kichton, they might have missed the opportunity to sign him before the lockout. Alternatively, it's possible his agent was banging the drum for a more max type of deal or signing bonus even before he put up another slate of big numbers in the WHL this season.
Kichton is the only risk here, but it's a conditional one. He'll re-enter the draft where presumably a team with a narrower pipeline of defensive prospects (and perhaps a willingness to offer him more within the ELC constrains?) will select him and try to fast-track him.
All of us Internet second-guessers will keep the file open.