In a move that should come as a surprise to no one, the Habs have officially parted ways with defenceman Nikolas Koberstein after they failed to sign him by the August 15th deadline.
The 23-year-old was a surprising fifth-round pick back in 2014 after playing in the AJHL, a lower-level junior league. Clearly, the Habs thought he was a worthy long-term project as someone that could provide some physicality on the back end and over time, he’d develop a bit of an offensive game.
Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. Koberstein provided little in the way of offence when he moved up to the USHL level before going to college and then he only managed four goals over his entire four-year career at Alaska-Fairbanks. In fact, the only notable moment of his time there was when the program nearly folded. Koberstein never really worked his way into a top-four role even as a senior which certainly doesn’t bode well for his playing future.
The writing has been on the wall for a couple of years now when the team didn’t even bother inviting him to their development camps. He was also allowed to sign with Calgary’s ECHL team in Kansas City following his graduation instead of the Habs opting to give him a look with their shared affiliate in Maine. He actually got into 16 games with the Mavericks including seven postseason contests but has not yet secured a contract with them (or anywhere) for next season.
There won’t be any compensation for the Habs not signing Koberstein as draft pick compensation is limited to only unsigned first rounders. Instead, it’ll be onto the next project and Montreal certainly drafted a few of those back in June. Four or five years from now, we’ll see if they pan out or whether they’ll become the next Koberstein.