The Habs have taken care of one of their pending restricted free agents as multiple reports indicated that they’ve re-signed Mitchell Stephens to a one-year, two-way contract. The deal will pay $775,000 in the NHL and $300,000 in the AHL with a total guarantee of $385,000 which represents a $10,000 raise on the guaranteed part of his contract from last season.
Montreal signed the 26-year-old last summer as an unrestricted free agent after Detroit opted to non-tender him following a year when he played in 27 games for the Red Wings. However, while Stephens was a regular for them when healthy in 2021-22, he didn’t see any NHL action with the Canadiens last season.
Instead, Stephens was a regular for Laval. He got off to a slow start but improved as the year went on, eventually becoming one of their better two-way options. He played in 68 games for the Rocket, picking up 20 goals and 21 assists but was injured for their play-in series against Utica.
This was Stephens’ final year of RFA eligibility as he will be eligible once again for unrestricted free agency next summer.
Montreal now has four remaining restricted free agents to deal with – defenceman Nicolas Beaudin along with forwards Alex Newhook, Jesse Ylonen, and Lucas Condotta. Wednesday is the deadline to file for salary arbitration and it seems unlikely that Condotta will need to file; accordingly, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him re-sign on Wednesday at the same time that the Habs officially announce this new deal for Stephens.