With the regular season opening up this week, it was only a matter of time before the Habs made some bulk cuts. Those began on Sunday when the team placed nine players on waivers. Players on the wire are:
Goalie: Charlie Lindgren
Defencemen: Noah Juulsen, Gustav Olofsson, Xavier Ouellet
Forwards: Brandon Baddock, Alex Belzile, Joseph Blandisi, Laurent Dauphin, Jordan Weal
Most of the names aren’t surprises and the majority of them should clear without an issue but on the back end, Juulsen carries some risk of being claimed. While he has hardly played the last two years, he looked pretty good as a rookie in 2018-19. A cheap right-shot defender with good size and decent mobility is sure to garner some attention. Having said that, a team that claims Juulsen would have to commit a full-time roster spot; he wouldn’t be available for a taxi squad.
Up front, Weal is the biggest name given that he was a full-timer on Montreal’s roster last season but with his contract and other additions the team made, this was an expected outcome. Assuming he makes it through unclaimed, only $1.075M of his $1.4M cap hit will come off the books. Belzile is the only other one with an outside shot of being claimed up front if a team thought he could be a serviceable 12th or 13th forward after he played in the playoffs in the summer.
The other six players have all cleared waivers in the past and aren’t big risks to lose this time around. They will be available until Monday at noon EST.
There is still some work to be done as Montreal tries to work its way to a 21-man roster in order to stay cap-compliant. Most of the remaining expected cuts are waiver-exempt but it appears as if one of Corey Perry or Michael Frolik will eventually have to be waived off the roster barring injuries over the next few days. And, of course, there will be plenty of daily cap management moves in order to try to give the Habs some wiggle room instead of being right against the Upper Limit.