On Thursday, the Habs took care of one of their own free agents, signing RFA Christian Thomas to a one year, two-way contract. He reportedly will earn $600,000 at the NHL level.
Thomas completed the final year of his entry level deal last season, one that would be classified as a disappointment. He failed to produce consistently for the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs, scoring just eleven goals and eleven assists in 52 games, setting or equalling career lows across the board.
He did, however, see time in 18 NHL games with the Canadiens, recording his first career goal while averaging 9:05 of ice time per game while posting strong possession stats.
Thomas is eligible for waivers this coming season which means his return to the AHL isn’t a given. As things stand, he’ll likely battle for the 23rd spot on the roster alongside Michael Bournival, one of three remaining restricted free agents for the Canadiens.
Although his qualifying offer was for $850,000, it’s likely his NHL salary will come in below that amount. In return, he’ll have a higher AHL salary while the smaller cap hit will help his chances of earning a roster spot.
Montreal acquired Thomas on this very day two years ago in exchange for Danny Kristo. Coincidentally, mere minutes after this signing was announced, Kristo signed a two-way deal with St. Louis, leaving the Rangers as a Group VI UFA.
Yesterday, Thomas switched his jersey number to #20. As we’ve all seen in recent years, whoever has that particular number isn’t likely to be around all that much longer.