HabsWorld.net -- 

The Habs parted ways with two of their prospects on Thursday as the Canadiens failed to sign goaltender Frederik Dichow and winger Jack Gorniak prior to the 5 PM ET deadline.  They now become unrestricted free agents.

The 22-year-old was a fifth-round pick by Montreal back in 2019, the first selection of what has turned into a recent trend of a late-round dart throw on a tall netminder as Dichow stands 6’5.  He has spent most of his time since being drafted playing in Sweden, aside from the 2020-21 campaign which saw him limited to just six appearances between two teams in his native Denmark.

This season, Dichow played at the top level in Sweden for the first time, getting into 16 games with Frolunda of the SHL.  He acquitted himself relatively well in those contests, posting a 2.76 GAA with a .899 SV%, decent numbers for his first taste of playing at a high level.  Dichow also was Denmark’s starting goaltender at the World Championship, notching a 2.30 GAA with a .911 SV% in five games before being injured in a round-robin game against Team USA.

However, one element that likely worked against Dichow, who ranked 29th in our annual prospect rankings, was that he’s already signed with Frolunda for next season.  That means that he would have counted against Montreal’s contract limit without him actually being in the system.  Considering that they’re going to be pretty tight to that limit as it is, using a spot on someone who couldn’t play in the system until 2023-24 was a risk they ruled wasn’t worth taking.

As for Gorniak, his original signing deadline was August 15, 2022.  However, he opted to return for the NCAA bonus year granted to players who were in college during the pandemic, giving him a fifth season with Wisconsin.  The 23-year-old was a fourth-round pick in 2018 (123rd overall) and wasn’t able to match his numbers from 2021-22, collecting five goals and seven assists in 31 games.  This decision not to sign him comes as little surprise as he had already stopped being invited to development camps, resulting in us dropping him to 46th in our prospect rankings this season.

Meanwhile, it was originally believed that the Habs would also be losing Joe Vrbetic today but it appears that isn’t the case.  A recent report from Guillaume Lefrancois of La Presse notes that Section 8.6 of the CBA applies to him.  More specifically, I believe it’s Section 8.6 (b)(ii) which reads as follows:

If a Player who is drafted as an 18-year-old ceases to play in the Juniors in the second League Year after he has been drafted and the Club has tendered to such Player a Bona Fide Offer pursuant to 8.6(a)(ii), his drafting Club shall have the exclusive right of negotiation for his services until the fourth June 1 following his initial selection in the Entry Draft.

Vrbetic was drafted as an 18-year-old and ceased to play in major junior in the second League Year after being drafted as he signed an AHL contract with Laval.  While he spent most of the year in the ECHL, Montreal opted not to send him back to the OHL.  The end of the blurb above indicates that they’ll retain the rights of a player in that scenario for four years, not the standard two.  Accordingly, they’ll hold his rights until June 1, 2025 and it’s possible he could be back with Trois-Rivieres next season.

The full listing of signing deadlines for Montreal’s prospects can be found here.