Monday at 5:00 PM EST was the deadline for teams to submit their qualifying offers. The Habs had 12 players that required one but only four were actually tendered. The eight that weren’t will now become unrestricted free agents on Saturday.
There weren’t really any surprises among those who received offers. Headlining the group of four was Alex Galchenyuk and the team has been involved in contract talks with him for a while now. Prospects Jacob de la Rose and Charlie Lindgren were both no-brainers to qualify while Max Friberg, who already has signed in Sweden for next season, was also tendered one. Doing so allows Montreal to retain his NHL rights for 2017-18.
Of the eight players who weren’t qualified, only one was in the NHL full-time last season in Nikita Nesterov. It was reported last week that he wasn’t going to receive one. Offseason acquisition Jakub Jerabek will basically fill his spot on the roster.
Also not being tendered offers were a pair of blueliners that saw action with the Habs in 2016-17, Ryan Johnston and Joel Hanley. Johnston signed in the Swedish League earlier today which made him a candidate to receive an offer but it appears the team has simply decided to cut bait after a disappointing season at the AHL level. Hanley didn’t fare well in his time with Montreal either but played a top four role with St. John’s and wasn’t half bad. However, at the age of 26, there likely isn’t much upside left.
Another somewhat notable unqualified player is winger Stefan Matteau. Last week at the draft, Claude Julien mentioned the former first rounder as someone that would get a look at training camp for a roster spot. He’s coming off a disappointing season though and it’s safe to put him in ‘bust’ territory relative to his draft status.
Other players not being qualified are:
- D Keegan Lowe, a midseason acquisition that played relatively well in a bottom pairing role with the IceCaps;
- C Mark MacMillan, who spent most of the season in a fourth line/reserve role with St. John’s;
- W Connor Crisp, who spent the majority of the year in Brampton;
- D Dalton Thrower, who missed most of the year and did very little while in Brampton’s lineup, hardly the impact they were hoping for from a second round pick.
This marks the second straight year where the bulk of the restricted free agents weren’t given offers. However, between that and players like de la Rose, Charles Hudon, and Daniel Carr all needing waivers next season, Montreal is going to have to bring in a lot of replacement players via trade or free agency this summer.