With free agency now just a day away, the Habs took care of another one of their restricted free agents, announcing the re-signing of Noah Juulsen to a one-year, two-way contract. The deal pays $700,000 in the NHL and $125,000 meaning that he took less than his qualifying offer in order to secure a higher guaranteed salary.
The 23-year-old has had very limited playing time over the past two years after suffering a facial headaches and corresponding headaches and vision issues. Accordingly, it’s not surprising that the Habs opted for a one-year deal with Juulsen accepting a higher guaranteed salary in the minors.
This past season, he played in 13 games with Laval over two separate stints, recording three assists. The last one came in their final game before the pandemic where he declared himself healthy. That helped Juulsen earn an invite to Montreal’s camp for their Return to Play where he earned a roster spot although he didn’t play against Pittsburgh or Philadelphia.
Juulsen is an intriguing wild card for next season. He has showed in two separate part NHL seasons that there is certainly some upside as someone that can provide some physicality, play decent defence, and log a reasonable amount of minutes. With Shea Weber and Jeff Petry both signed for at least five more years, that’s about all that Montreal needs from their third RD spot. If healthy, Juulsen should be able to take that spot and have success in that role.
But if the lack of recent playing time proves to be an issue, Juulsen will require waivers to get back to Laval. In that situation, it’s not crazy to think that this could be another Jarred Tinordi situation – a first-round pick that isn’t quite good enough to play but they don’t want to lose him for nothing either. Whenever training camp happens – sometime in December by the sounds of it – he’ll be one to watch for sure.