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Montreal Canadiens

Interesting Names Soon To Be Available For Canadiens On Waivers

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Montreal Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens are still looking to improve their team and will be paying close attention to the waiver wire this next week as interesting players become available.

The waiver period has been in effect for a couple of days now, but there haven’t been many interesting names for the Montreal Canadiens to pounce on in order to improve their club. There has been a waiver claim made already this season, with the Arizona Coyotes putting in a claim for Colorado Avalanche goaltender Jonas Johansson; a position of dire need for the Coyotes.

Moving forward, there will be more and more interesting names coming from teams across the leagues, as they’re forced to make gut-wrenching decisions about their roster prior to the start of the season. For the Canadiens, who are actively looking to add a defenceman, teams like the Anaheim Ducks, the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers will be interesting to watch, as they all have eight or more NHL defencemen at camp, on top of having more defencemen at camp on PTOs.

But lots can still change in a week, with injuries or trades, meaning the Canadiens will be looking to make the right choices once names are divulged at 2:00 pm ET moving forward.

 

Explaining Waiver Priority

Due to finishing last in the NHL standings during the 2021-2022 NHL season, the Montreal Canadiens will have priority in the waiver selection process all the way up to November 1.

According to Article 13.19 of the NHL‘s collective bargaining agreement:

“In the event that more than one Club makes a claim for such Player, he shall: (i) be transferred to the claiming Club having earned the lowest percentage of possible points in the League standing at the time of the request for Waivers, or (ii) if Waivers are requested outside the Regular Season, or the successful Waiver claim is made (i.e., the date the Player would be transferred to a successful claiming Club per this Section), before November 1st then the priority shall be determined by the final standing in the League’s Regular Season schedule in the preceding Regular Season.”

That means that, if a team were to put an interesting player on waivers at the start of the season or shortly thereafter, the Montreal Canadiens would be able to swoop in and add said player to their roster immediately, giving them the depth they need at a position of choice. In the past, we have seen some good players unfortunately put on waivers due to the numbers game on very deep NHL rosters, and that could be an opportunity for the Canadiens to bolster their lineup accordingly and potentially get even younger.

It’s also important to note that, if the Montreal Canadiens do, in fact, put in a claim on a player, they do not lose their priority to put a claim on another player moving forward. This is a rule that exists in fantasy sports leagues but is not decreed anywhere in the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement. The priority will be retained, despite making a previous claim, up until November 1.

This means that the Canadiens retain this advantage throughout camp and into the regular season; allowing them to swoop in on some quality players they would have otherwise had to trade for to acquire. It could be a significant advantage for them to pounce on some potential at positions of need, as they continue to look to improve their roster and develop talent. On the flip side, they could also acquire veterans this way that could better insulate their young roster and can be used as trade fodder at the trade deadline if they play up to their standards with the Canadiens all season.

One way or another, it’s an interesting advantage that gives the Canadiens more options to manage their assets.

 

But The Canadiens Don’t Have Cap Space?! 

For those looking at CapFriendly or Puckpedia at the moment, it looks like the Canadiens have used up all their LTIR relief space; but there’s something to keep in mind when looking at those numbers. The Montreal Canadiens currently have 16 forwards, seven defencemen and two goaltenders in that calculation; a total of 25 players. The Canadiens will not be able to start the season with 25 players on the roster, meaning that the current belief that the Canadiens have just $200,000 in LTIR relief space is wrong, since they’ll not only have to trim their roster by two, or put Paul Byron on LTIR, they’d also need to trim their roster to accommodate any waiver pickup as well.

What does that mean? The Canadiens will gain between $1.6M to $2.2M in LTIR relief space by trimming down their roster to 23 players; how much money they save will depend on which players are waived/went down to Laval. That will give the Canadiens plenty of opportunity to go and add a player via waivers that perhaps isn’t on a league minimum salary; or potentially add more than one player in the process.

For example, if the Canadiens were to finally find a veteran defenceman on waivers, the Canadiens would not only have about $2.2M in LTIR relief space to accommodate him. Once a defenceman is claimed, they’d also gain cap space by immediately assigning a waiver-exempt youngster on defence to the Laval Rocket.

And this is without factoring the potential trading of a forward by general manager Kent Hughes before the start of the season to alleviate a logjam at the position; something he and Jeff Gorton have gone on the record as being a priority for them to resolve.

So, in short, yes the Canadiens have cap space to make some moves if they so please, and you can expect them to be aggressive as we slowly creep towards the start of the NHL season.

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