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Earlier this week, it was reported that the Habs were one of 11 teams who have already incurred a bonus overage penalty for next season.  Let’s break down how much the team will have deducted off their spending limit for 2024-25 and how it got to that point.

According to Daily Faceoff in collaboration with CapFriendly, the Canadiens will be facing an overage penalty of $1,022,500.  If you think that number feels high, it’s actually an improvement on this season which checked in at $1,170,000.  Get used to Montreal being in this situation, however.  As long as they’re carrying Carey Price’s contract and are in LTIR all season, any performance bonuses achieved will be deducted off the spending limit in the following year.  Price has a couple of years left so this is a situation they’re going to be in for a little while longer.

Now, let’s dig into the numbers.

Class A Bonuses

These are the most common ones and vary by position.  The maximum achievable can vary depending on when the contract was signed while some players have the first ‘A’ bonus at the max rate and a second one at a lower rate.

For forwards, these are as follows:

  • Top six in ice time among forwards (total and/or per game) on the team (minimum 42 games)
  • 20 goals
  • 35 assists
  • 60 points
  • 73 points per game (minimum 42 games)
  • Top three in +/- among forwards on the team (minimum 42 games)
  • End-of-season All-Rookie Team
  • Selected to NHL All-Star Game
  • NHL All-Star MVP

By now, most of you know that Juraj Slafkovsky reached the 20-goal mark in the final game of the regular season, earning him $250,000.  He has four ‘A’ bonuses in his deal, all valued at that level.  He wasn’t able to hit all four but also managed to earn the ice time one as he finished third among Montreal’s forwards in that category.  (You can easily guess the two ahead of him.)

Slafkovsky was the only Montreal forward who had ‘A’ bonuses in his deal so let’s move onto the defencemen now.  Here are their options:

  • Top four in ice time among defencemen (total and/or per game) on the team (minimum 42 games)
  • 10 goals
  • 25 assists
  • 35 points
  • 49 points per game (minimum 42 games)
  • Top three in +/- among defencemen on the team (minimum 42 games)
  • Top two among defencemen in blocked shots (minimum 42 games)
  • End-of-season All-Rookie Team
  • Selected to NHL All-Star Game
  • NHL All-Star MVP

A pair of blueliners hit one this year.  Both Kaiden Guhle and Justin Barron made it in the TOI category with Guhle coming in second among blueliners and Barron fourth.  While Barron spent a good chunk of the year in Laval, he played in 48 games with the Canadiens, narrowly squeaking past the 42-game minimum.  Combined, that adds another $425,000 to the books.

Class B Bonuses

These are admittedly harder to pin down since they’re not based on fixed criteria.  However, we can get a pretty good feel for Montreal’s bonus charges here.

Sean Monahan’s is the one that’s most well-known as he was given a $15,000 bonus for reaching 26 games played.  (As an aside, he led all players in games played this season with 83.)  Since the bonus was reached when Monahan was on Montreal’s roster, the Habs incur the expense.

Additionally, Jayden Struble reached his full games-played bonus at $57,500.  I’m not 100% sure on this one since the details aren’t publicly known but I believe this was maxed at the 50-game mark.  Whatever the threshold was, it was reached, adding to the overage.

That leaves us $25,000 short of the full penalty.  Again, since ‘B’ bonuses aren’t generally publicized in terms of what criteria is needed to meet them, I can’t say with certainty who it is.  Barron and Joshua Roy each have a games played bonus in the contract so it’s one of them who hit the trigger point to push the overage past a million.  I think it might be Barron but that’s a guess.

There’s a good chance that next season’s number could run even higher.  Lane Hutson has $750,000 in ‘A’ bonuses in his contract in 2024-25 and if he’s a regular with Montreal, it stands to reason he’ll hit at least one of those.  Slafkovsky taking another step forward offensively could give him a shot at hitting more than two of his ‘A’ bonuses next season as well.  That’s the byproduct of carrying a lot of younger players when you’re in LTIR all year long although if the players are meeting those thresholds, their development should be continuing on an upwards trajectory as well.