Charles Hudon, Montreal’s lone remaining restricted free agent had until 5 PM EST on Saturday to file for arbitration. Somewhat surprisingly, he has opted not to do so.
Going the arbitration route would have guaranteed that he’s signed by early November with hearings set to run from October 20th to November 8th. Even though he’s coming off of a season that saw him put up just a goal and an assist in 15 games with the Habs, numbers from past seasons are still usable in a hearing and he is just a few years removed from his 10-goal, 20-assist campaign.
It’s possible that Hudon and the Habs are close on something and the deal will be announced in the next day or two so there was no point in really filing. On the other hand, this could be a plan from Hudon’s camp to try to help facilitate a trade with a potential acquiring team then getting to work on a deal rather than having it go through an arbitrator.
Worth noting, while it was unlikely to be needed, the fact he didn’t file takes away Montreal’s option for a second buyout window. If someone files for arbitration, the team has a 48-hour period to buy a player out following the award or settlement for the final person that filed. The AAV threshold for that to be used is $4 million and with the Habs having bought out Karl Alzner earlier this month, there were no other obvious candidates at that price point.
With training camps not starting for at least two more months at the earliest, there’s still plenty of time to work something out with the 26-year-old in his final RFA year. But the one guaranteed path to a contract is now off the table which is mildly interesting while we wait for some of the big dominoes to fall on the open market.