HabsWorld.net -- 

Qualifying offers are due by Sunday and if pending restricted free agents don’t receive one by then, they’ll become unrestricted on Monday.  That’s the route that Jesse Ylonen will be taking as Jeff Gorton confirmed today that the Canadiens will not tender him a qualifying offer this weekend.

The 24-year-old accepted a contract worth the league minimum last summer after a strong finish to the 2022-23 campaign, one that saw him put up six goals and ten assists in 37 games.  The hope was that he’d be able to build off of that performance and establish himself as a legitimate regular for Montreal.

Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.  Ylonen primarily played on the fourth line, a role that didn’t exactly suit his skill set.  However, he wasn’t playing well enough to merit an extended look higher up the depth chart either.  His performances also led to several healthy scratches throughout the campaign.  All told, he had just four goals and four assists in 59 games.

Ylonen’s qualifying offer would have been just $813,750.  On the surface, that’s a reasonable price to pay for some extra depth but Ylonen also had arbitration eligibility.  With his performance from 2022-23 coming into play as part of the arbitration submissions, that likely was going to push his price tag past the $1 million mark.  For someone whose grip on a roster spot was going to be tenuous at best, they’ve decided that the best course of action will be to let him go following a discussion with his camp which suggested a change of scenery would be desirable.

The Canadiens only have five other restricted free agents to offer contracts to this weekend.  Two of those (Lias Andersson and Filip Cederqvist) have already signed overseas but both could still be tendered to retain their NHL rights.  The other three are all defencemen, Justin Barron, Arber Xhekaj, and Mattias Norlinder.  The Habs will have until 5 PM ET on Sunday to issue qualifying offers to the players they want to keep.