Montreal opted not to tender Rem Pitlick a qualifying offer back on Monday but less than a week later, he’s back with the team as the Habs announced on Saturday that they’ve signed him to a two-year deal. The contract is a one-way pact worth $1.1 million per season.
The Canadiens picked up the 25-year-old from Minnesota on waivers in early January when they were dealing with several injuries and missing multiple players due to COVID protocol. Originally envisioned as a short-term replacement, Pitlick wound up becoming an important part of their lineup in the second half of the season.
He played in 46 games with the Habs, picking up 26 points while averaging over 17 minutes per game. Add that to his numbers from Minnesota and he wound up picking up 15 goals and 22 assists in 66 contests, impressive numbers although a 23.1 shooting percentage suggests there’s bound to be some regression. It’s also unlikely Pitlick will have the same role in 2022-23 as he did last year as several of the injured wingers he was replacing are now healthy while Evgenii Dadonov was brought in from Vegas in a trade last month.
Even so, there isn’t much risk with this contract. At $1.1 million, he doesn’t need to put up 37 points to justify the cost and if things don’t go well (like what happened with Jordan Weal a few years ago as a player in a similar situation), Pitlick can be waived and sent to Laval where his contract would come off the cap entirely.
Montreal replenishes some of the bottom-six forward depth that was lost with Ryan Poehling being traded to Pittsburgh and Pitlick gets a raise of nearly $200,000 and a bit of security with the contract. All in all, it’s not a bad deal for either side, just one that came about a little differently with GM Kent Hughes mentioning earlier today that, as expected, the only reason for not issuing the qualifying offer was that they wanted to avoid the potential of going to salary arbitration.