The official roster reveal for the Kraken has been made and the Habs have lost defenceman Cale Fleury to Seattle.
The 22-year-old surprised many by making Montreal’s opening roster back in 2019-20 and held his own in the early going. Overall, he suited in 41 games, notching a single point (a goal) before being sent back to Laval to get more playing time and finish out the season.
Fleury spent all of this past season in the minors as well and didn’t exactly dominate. His offensive numbers were pedestrian – six assists in 22 games – but he wasn’t forcing his way into a bigger role and more playing time either. To that end, it’s a bit surprising that he was the selection although he’s still young and has that NHL experience already.
It’s also worth noting that Fleury, a restricted free agent this summer, becomes waiver-eligible in 2021-22 so the Canadiens were likely facing a situation where he was either going to be the seventh or eighth defenceman or be placed on waivers to make it back to Laval. Accordingly, the Habs come out of this draft in reasonable shape although they’re even weaker in terms of right-shot defensive depth, a position that they’re certainly lacking at the moment, particularly with it looking like Shea Weber will miss next season at a minimum.
Of course, the biggest news with this selection is that it wasn’t Carey Price who was surprisingly left unprotected after offering to waive his no-move clause to allow the Habs to project Jake Allen who many expected would be Seattle’s pick. In the end, the uncertainty surrounding his health plus his significant contract – five more years at a $10.5M cap hit – appears to have been enough to scare the Kraken away.