The Danny Kristo era in Montreal has come to an end before it even began.
On Tuesday, the Habs announced that Kristo, the clubs’ 2nd rounder in 2008, has
been dealt to the New York Rangers. In return, the Canadiens pick up a
former 2nd rounder in his place, winger Christian Thomas, who was the 40th pick
overall in 2010.
Those who are looking for Montreal to become a bigger and tougher team will
not like this particular deal as Thomas, the son of longtime NHL’er Steve
Thomas, comes in two inches shorter than the 5’11 Kristo. Thomas, despite
his small stature, has proven himself to be a high quality goal scorer in his
young career. The year after he was drafted by New York, the 21 year old
RW had a 54 goal campaign with the OHL’s Oshawa Generals, good for 2nd in the
league. In his final three junior campaigns, he lit the lamp 129 times in
185 games before turning pro.
This past season, Thomas made his pro debut with the AHL’s Connecticut Whale.
In 73 games, he had 19 tallies (good for 3rd on the team) and 16 assists with 15
PIMS and a +5 rating. His 19 goals also tied him for 7th in the AHL for
goals by a rookie. He also made his NHL debut, playing in one game.
Coincidentally, that game came against the Habs where he had a pair of shots in
12:46 of action.
Kristo completed his college career with a career year at the University of
North Dakota, his 26 goals and 26 assists in just 40 games helped earn him a
nomination for the Hobey Baker Trophy, awarded to the best NCAA player each
season. Shortly thereafter, he inked a two year entry level deal with
Montreal (covering this past season and 2013-14) and was immediately assigned to
the Hamilton Bulldogs. The 23 year old RW picked up a trio of assists in
nine games with the team before joining Team USA for the World Championships,
picking up a goal and two helpers in ten contests. Unfortunately, Kristo’s
tenure as a prospect with the club was mired by a string of off-ice concerns,
including an unnecessary incident that led to him getting frostbite a couple of
years ago and being suspended twice this past season for off-ice issues.
Thomas has two years left on his entry level deal with a cap hit of $970,000.
He’ll earn $900,000 at the NHL level in 2013-14 with potential bonuses of
$100,000 and $810,000 in salary with bonuses of $100,000 in the NHL in 2014-15.
He’ll receive $67,500 in the AHL in both those seasons. Kristo is an RFA
after 2013-14 and is scheduled to make $875,000 in the NHL with an additional
$800,000 in performance bonuses (with a cap hit of $1.3 million); his AHL salary is $65,000.
In other news, a trio of players failed to receive qualifying offers from
Montreal by Tuesday’s 5 PM EST deadline. Two should come as no surprise in
RW Ian Schultz and D Joe Stejskal. The one that may be a surprise is
defenceman Yannick Weber. He would have been eligible for arbitration (and
the club would have been unable to walk away from his award if it were deemed
too high for their liking) which likely factored into the decision. All
three are now set to become unrestricted free agents on July 5th. Gabriel
Dumont, Robert Mayer, Dustin Tokarski, and Ryan White all received qualifying
offers from the club.