Monday afternoon was the deadline for teams to make qualifying offers. The Habs made offers to only three players, opting to let five others become unrestricted free agents on July 1st.
Players receiving offers were: Daniel Carr, Phillip Danault, and Andrew Shaw.
Those who didn’t get offers were Mac Bennett, Michael Bournival, Darren Dietz, Morgan Ellis, and Lucas Lessio.
The decision to let both Dietz and Lessio go comes as somewhat of a surprise. Dietz struggled with the IceCaps last season but didn’t look out of place in 13 games with the Habs, picking up 5 points while providing steady play on the third pairing. Lessio suited up in a dozen games with Montreal after being acquired midseason for Christian Thomas, picking up a goal and an assist. However, Michel Therrien never seemed to take to him and frequently made Lessio a healthy scratch. Both players would have had to go through waivers to return to the AHL next season.
Bournival was a regular with the Habs for most of 2013-14 before concussion trouble cost him big chunks of the last two seasons. Last year, he played in just 20 games with St. John’s, scoring only once while adding seven assists. As for Ellis, he was an All-Star with St. John’s, picking up 16 goals and 26 assists but didn’t seem to impress in his brief NHL stint as he only saw three games of action.
The decision to let Bennett go shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. The former third round pick struggled mightily last season, playing in just 35 games with the IceCaps, picking up three points. He was a frequent healthy scratch and the addition of Tom Parisi late last year likely was the final nail in the coffin.
These players are still eligible to re-sign with the Habs prior to the 1st but it would appear GM Marc Bergevin is valuing some flexibility on the 50 contract limit.
Shaw, Danault, and Carr have until July 15th at 5:00 PM EST to accept or reject their offers. It’s expected that Shaw will sign a long-term deal before then.