After a slow start to his season that has seen him be scratched multiple times already, the Canadiens have decided to place winger Rem Pitlick on waivers.
Last season, the 25-year-old was one of the few bright spots for Montreal, recording 26 points in 46 games after being claimed off waivers from Minnesota. There were some warning signs of regression (including a shooting percentage of 23.1) but he did well enough for the Habs to offer him a two-year contract this past summer once they freed up enough money to offer it. (His re-signing was the unofficial second element of the Jeff Petry trade as the cap space freed up from that move went to Pitlick.)
However, things haven’t gone so well for him this season. He has been scratched five times already and hasn’t hit the scoresheet yet in his first seven appearances which had me speculating yesterday that this move could be coming. With Juraj Slafkovsky appearing to do enough to at least burn the first year of his entry-level deal (the threshold of 40 games on the active roster will be the next one to watch for there for UFA purposes) and the team needing to try to get Evgenii Dadonov back in to inflate his value, Pitlick is the casualty of the numbers game for now.
If he passes through unclaimed, his entire $1.1 million cap hit will come off of Montreal’s books and he’ll get an opportunity to play big minutes in Laval to try to get going again. And of course if he’s claimed, his contract would come off the books entirely as well. They’ll have to wait until Tuesday afternoon to find out his fate.