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Montreal Canadiens

Early Look at Potential Free Agent Targets for Canadiens



Montreal Canadiens Free Agency Targets

For the Montréal Canadiens, the season finished in April. Yet, the end of the regular season wasn’t all bad.

The second year of a full rebuild under new management has started to bear fruit. For the first time in a while, the Habs boast a thrilling top-forward line with some.

But, with the spring being for contenders, the summer is where rebuilding teams go to work. The months of June and July will be when hockey fever will pick up again for fans of the Habs, San Jose Sharks, Chicago Blackhawks, and others who missed the cut.

Others with hockey fever will turn to the best slots Canada has to offer. Namely, Hockey Fever Penny Roller, and Break Away Lucky Wilds. Either way, it’s time to embrace the hype that comes with the draft on June 28 this year

Although the Canadiens have taken a step forward, they still need to move out some pieces, and potentially add an impact veteran presence at forward. They currently have their veteran leaders on defence in Mike Matheson and David Savard, but they’ll need more than Brendan Gallagher in their top-9 if they want to help the Canadiens’ young top-six to take yet another step this season.

The summer will offer two pivotal moments to progress. First, there will be the 2024 NHL Draft, and then it’s on to free agency. Despite some bonus overage penalties, general manager Kent Hughes will finally have cap space this offseason, with more room potentially on the way if some key trades are made to snag a player who could help the rebuild take another step.

But who would be a good fit?

Montreal Canadiens Roster Decisions

The Montreal Canadiens have three impending RFAs (Arber Xhekaj, Justin Barron and Jesse Ylönen), along with three UFAs (Chris Wideman, Colin White and Tanner Pearson). It’s fair to assume that Xhekaj and Barron will receive minor raises, while Ylönen’s fate is a little murkier at the moment.

All three of Wideman, White and Pearson are not expected to return, in order to open up spots for some young players to jump into the lineup on the Canadiens’ bottom six.

Kirby Dach will hopefully be fit and raring to go next season. This will greatly reinforce the top six. From there, and with a good chunk of change, the Habs will need to fill one forward spot if trades aren’t made. In theory, this opens up the top of the free agency, as listed by CapFriendly.

As it stands, that features some interesting names. You can likely rule out big names like Sam Reinhart or Jake Guentzel, who will be signing monster deals this summer.

So, who could make sense for the Montreal Canadiens if available?


Free Agent Options

Teuvo Teräväinen could be an interesting present and future piece for a club looking to add speed and scoring punch to their lineup.

Teräväinen has consistently been in the 55-65-point range during his time in Carolina, coming off a 25-goal campaign this season and showing he can be much more than a playmaker.

For the Canadiens, the only issue is, Teräväinen will likely be looking to cash in on what could be his last big deal. He’ll be turning 30 before the start of the 2024-2025 season, which means that term will likely be a big aspect of any deal he signs; something the Canadiens are seemingly unwilling to give at the moment.

If the market sours on him and he opts for a short-term deal, that seems like a perfect time for the Montreal Canadiens to swoop in.

Steven Stamkos is perhaps the biggest dream for the Montreal Canadiens faithful, as the thought of Stamkos reuniting under the guise of head coach Martin St-Louis is just too hard to pass up.

Stamkos is still an elite player in the NHL, having potted 40 goals and 81 points in 79 games this season. So, the cost to acquire such a player is going to be high, but, given Stamkos is already 34 years old, he’s unlikely to ask for significant term on his next deal.

If the stars align, and Stamkos is willing to come to Montreal to be part of the process of turning them into contenders and is willing to take a short-term deal, the Montreal Canadiens should pursue that without hesitation.

The experience and value he could bring would be second-to-none and would vault the team from basement dweller to legitimate playoff contender next season.

However, if Stamkos ultimately stays in Tampa or looks to play for a contender instead, another valuable option would be local forward Jonathan Marchessault. The former Conn Smythe trophy winner has been nothing but clutch for the Vegas Golden Knights since being plucked out of Florida back in 2017.

After potting the first 40-goal campaign of his career, the 33-year-old has priced himself out of Vegas and will likely be looking for a new home to finish his career. Coming back to his home province of Quebec could make sense on a short-term deal, as the Canadiens have the flexibility to make that kind of contract offer.

Marchessault would be able to slot into the Canadiens’ top 6 and help carry the load, while the young offensive prospects continue to develop. He would likely cost much less than Stamkos and could provide the necessary leadership and skill required to help the club take the next step in their rebuild.

Interesting Summer Ahead For Montreal Canadiens

By all accounts, the Montreal Canadiens are seemingly moving in the right direction. A strong haul of talent at the 2024 NHL Draft, perhaps some timely trades and a dip in free agency could be exactly what the doctor ordered for them to hit another level.

With some cap space, ample draft capital and a strong desire to continue to evolve, general manager Kent Hughes is set for what should be a very pivotal summer for the Montreal Canadiens.

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John Smith

I don’t know if this is the summer for free agents in their 30s. Perhaps next year. My concern though is that most signees fail to live up to expectations and their term is too long. Don’t get me wrong, all of the above would likely move the needle but Montreal is not yet ready for prime time. I would much rather see the tandem of HuGo swing some trades for 24 year olds using som of their excess in prospects and draft picks.


I would mostly agree with your thinking. Isn’t it time to see what we have in Roy, and then the new pick at #5 (assuming it is a forward)?

Also, aren’t we under the impression that another Dach or Newhook type trade is forthcoming? Complete the trifecta for that 2nd line and trade our pick from Winny to get another winger (perhaps a former 1st rd pick, in his early 20s, who has fallen out of favor on his team, who we can sign for up to $5M per).

Finally, what’s wrong with making an offer to a pending RFA? We have the draft capital to give up a 1st or a 1st + a 3rd for a good RFA (again, say early/mid 20s, who can def play on our 2nd line).

I’d rather go with any of the options above to take that last winger spot on the 2nd line, than pay/overpay a UFA for 3 or 4 seasons to do the same.

William O'Neill

Why would the Habs sign over priced UFA’s??


The habs will not sign big free agents especially two are small really Marco, come on ! The Habs need to get bigger. . I can see them trade for a 2 line scorer. I believe 2025 is the year they will have a lot of contracts coming off the books they will shape the team to be competitive to make the playoff.

John Spearing

I dislike the idea of overpaying in FA to add anyone 30 plus…. we are only 2 full years into a 5 year plan, patience and trusting the process is the key… we do not want to follow in the Sens footsteps of losing patience and trying to rush things… short cuts rarely work when rebuilding.


I’ve never heard anyone say it was a 5 year plan, where are you getting that from?
I don’t want to sign anyone that is past there prime, agreed.

You mentioned Ottawa shortcuts previously, I’m not sure I understand. Brady, Jake, Chabot, Tim S, Bathurson, Pinto were all their picks. They traded away older talent for picks or prospects. Things we did and are doing. Added one guy Giroux, certainly not a mistake that’s cost them years of playoff success as he’s been good for them.

Look at Detroit , Anaheim and Buffalo, did they do it right or wrong? They exercised a lot of patience and are long term non playoff teams.


They are too old.


Marchessault is also perhaps too pricey for Habs. Yes, we have cap space, and few free agents of our own to deal with. That said, we have a young team that is going to be looking for more $ in the near future, and Price on the books for a few years still, so we really should not be spending big on UFAs July 1st. Stamkos won’t sign in Montréal, lol, it’d take a lot more than a coach to get him here. Never happen.
Ideally, Habs sign 0 UFAs. The team is not ready to compete. Too many question marks and still only 1 reliable scoring line.
I hope Kirby Glass can come back and stay healthy, but has he played a full year yet? Lots of defence, a few injuries away from NO offence. This team needs at least 1, probably 2 years to be ready, if all goes well.


I’m not so sure about all that cap space. Slaf and Guhle will be on the last year of their ELCs and we can expect a big jump on their next contracts. In any case, the last thing we need is to give guys in their mid-30s big contracts.


I’d only consider the Canes forward. He’s been playing in a very good and disciplined system and plays all the way up and down the ice. I would like Stammer for a year or 2 but no more and at a reasonable rate but I believe he will finish his career in Tampa. I don’t truly see this team going outside for a UFA until we are done wiith the baggage deals Bergy left us with.

Lastly, with the Oilers eliminating the Kings this week the Rumour Mills are churning that the Kings would like to dump PLD and that albatross contract they own. Of course the French Network has jumped in as assumed with the bring PLD home chants. Really?? The guy has worn out his welcome with the Kings even faster than the ones with the Jets and Blue Jackets. Why would we want this over paid low result quitter?? Didn’t we just suffer thru tht for 6 yrs with Drouin and are currently suffering it with Anderson. Who knows if Hughes was feeding the press last year about the Habs interest in PLD just to get the price raised for the Kings. Seriously, you do have to think Kings GM Rob Blake would like to have PLD’s contract paid out of the consulting fees being paid to Bergy. I’m sure he pestered Blake to get PLD no matter the cost just because he wanted to draft him from Junior.


When you have a ton of prospects on D and other positions coming and a young team and another high draft pick coming the options are endless. I would wait to see where May 9th Habs are picking in the draft. Then are the surplus of D worth more in future draft picks, packages and so on. Is a free agent available to fill a gap that can’t be filled internally now and available in 2 or 3 years. What kills teams now in the NHL is the cap. Only way to have a core complemented for a long run of aspirations is a young top players entering on entry level contracts if you want it to last. Habs in Unique Position to set up the future draft bank for many years while flipping extras as young guys become ready but still need to fill in gaps with free agents wanting last chance to win. Finally can start promoting that now. Always more than one way to do things but lets be patient for draft lottery position before worrying about strategies.


They should stay away from the ones named in the article. Try to find a couple of mid 20-somethings who have underachieved, give them a 3-year deal and see what happens. No long-term deals should be given out at this stage. There are too many younger players with potential (Slaf, Guhle, Mailloux, Struble, etc) that they should hold on to.

Bev Seney

I just do not see the advantage of adding older FA to the club at this time of our development. Too soon. We need first of all to trade away DvoorK, Anderson. Ylonen & Pearson are UFA THEY Probably walk. I much as I like Matheson I think he is the key to getting a top 6 forward and I believe Hutson and MIlloyx could make up the difference in offensive production.

Alex Barrette

I think the one that makes the most sense is Guentzel and Henrique. The later is a well respected pro, and great mentor. I was talking with one of my good buddies who is a NJ Devils fan, he had nothing but praise about Henrique.