The Habs won’t have to worry about an offer sheet coming Nick Suzuki’s way next summer. Or ever, for that matter. The Canadiens announced on Tuesday that they’ve signed the centre to an eight-year, $63 million contract extension. The deal buys out Suzuki’s four remaining RFA-eligible years plus the first four years of his UFA eligibility.
The 22-year-old has quickly become a core piece for Montreal and this contract cements their plans to have him as their top centre for the long-term future. Last season, Suzuki matched his 41 points from his rookie campaign in 15 fewer games while logging over 18 minutes a night. He was also quite impressive in the playoffs, leading the team in scoring with 16 points in 22 games while showing some chemistry with Cole Caufield. The two will get a chance to rekindle that this season.
From strictly a points perspective, this deal may be on the high side for the first couple of seasons as there is clearly some development left for Suzuki. However, with the role Suzuki fills and the two-way upside he has shown, a short-term overpayment in the hopes of a longer-term bargain certainly makes some sense for the Canadiens.
However, this contract also puts some extra financial pressure on the Canadiens for 2022-23. They now have over $84 million in commitments to just 13 players and that doesn’t include the bonus overages the team will incur this season since they’ll be in LTIR all year. For perspective, next year’s cap is believed to be $82.5 million. Yes, Shea Weber’s contract (which, at $7.857 million, is just below Suzuki’s) will be LTIR-eligible once again assuming he doesn’t come back but that still doesn’t leave much wiggle room to fill out the roster.
Artturi Lehkonen and Alexander Romanov are notable restricted free agents next summer while Ben Chiarot is a pending UFA of note and GM Marc Bergevin will have to get creative to keep them all in the fold. But that’s a battle for another day as today, he’ll be satisfied knowing that Suzuki, his top centre, is sticking around through the end of the decade.