The Canadiens sent qualifying offers to five players by Monday’s 5 PM ET deadline while declining to tender an offer to three others, making them unrestricted free agents on Wednesday.
Players receiving an offer were:
F Kirby Dach
G Samuel Montembeault
G Cayden Primeau
F Nate Schnarr
F Joel Teasdale
Those not being tendered an offer were:
D Josh Brook
D Kale Clague
F Rem Pitlick
Of the ones being let go, Pitlick is the one that stands out. He certainly did well enough to earn another contract with 26 points in 46 games after being claimed off waivers from Minnesota. Montreal did offer him a contract that was above the qualifying offer that was obviously rejected but didn’t want to risk him filing for arbitration and being awarded a deal that’s higher than they wanted to pay. Instead, he’ll hit the open market unless a new deal is worked out beforehand, which happens to a few non-tendered players each year.
Clague was in and out of the lineup after Montreal picked him up on waivers and with the depth they have in the left side in Laval next season, his departure isn’t shocking. Neither is Brook’s as he struggled considerably this season when healthy and wasn’t invited to join Laval as an extra for their playoff run which was a clear-cut sign his days in the organization were numbers.
Among those being tendered, Dach and Primeau were no-brainers while Montembeault will likely stick around as insurance with Carey Price’s future for next season still in question. Teasdale and Schnarr both played bottom-six roles for the Rocket but will get another opportunity to prove themselves in Laval (a team that was also busy today as they signed forwards Ryan Francis and Brennan Saulnier to AHL deals) next season.
There have been some notable players non-tendered by teams today. Chicago parted ways with Dominik Kubalik and Dylan Strome, Anaheim let Sam Steel and Sonny Milano go, while Washington parted ways with goalie Ilya Samsonov. With these players (and others let go today) being younger, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Canadiens GM Kent Hughes check in on them as possible free agent fits when the market opens up on Wednesday to see if there’s someone with a bit of upside that could be added that fits with their younger core.