The Habs took a big step towards finalizing their roster as they announced that defencemen Karl Alzner and Xavier Ouellet plus forwards Matthew Peca, Phil Varone, and Dale Weise have been placed on waivers. They all cleared on Friday and were assigned to Laval.
Of the group, Peca’s presence is likely the most notable as he spent the entirety of 2018-19 with Montreal. However, he was a healthy scratch for more than half the year as he suited up in just 39 games, recording ten points. There was considerable interest in him as a Group VI free agent in the 2018 offseason but it wasn’t enough to get him picked up. All but $225,000 of his cap hit is now cleared out since he has been sent to the minors.
Alzner cleared waivers multiple times last season and suited up in just nine games with Montreal. With a $4.625 million cap hit, him clearing again was no surprise which means the Canadiens will be carrying a $3.55 million cap hit while he’s with Laval.
Weise was in his first training camp with the team after being re-acquired last season. He cleared waivers while with Philadelphia last season and considering his price tag ($2.35 million) is rather hefty for a depth winger, it wasn’t a surprise that he went unclaimed. That will make his revised cap hit $1.275 million.
Ouellet made it through twice last year (once on release waivers with Detroit and early in the year with the Canadiens) so it isn’t surprising that he wasn’t picked up again. He’ll play a significant role on Laval’s back end and will likely serve as their captain this season. The Habs won’t be responsible for any lingering cap hit.
As for Varone, he has cleared waivers several times in the past and did so again despite spending more than half the season in the NHL last year with the Flyers. He’s expected to serve as Laval’s top offensive weapon as while he hasn’t been a scorer in the NHL, he has been rather productive in the minors over the years.
Meanwhile, there are 26 healthy players remaining (15 forwards, 8 defencemen, and 3 goalies) at training camp with Paul Byron and Ryan Poehling rejoining the team at practice so there are still at least three cuts to be made. Meanwhile, Noah Juulsen, Michael McCarron, Gustav Olofsson, and Joel Teasdale are all currently injured.