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Five Canadiens Prospects Could Have Rights Expire This Summer

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Montreal Canadiens prospect Jared Davidson

The Montreal Canadiens have drafted a significant amount of players over the last four years, but, with a 50-contract limit, they can’t keep them all.

As the Habs look to defy NHL betting odds and build a winner that could compete for the Stanley Cup, this will be one of their biggest summers yet.

But, with over 29 prospects added to their Reserve List over the last three drafts, they’ll have to make some tough decisions first.

Factor in that the Montreal Canadiens have another 12 picks in each of the next two NHL Drafts, and it gives the club even more reason to be selective with who they decide to sign to an entry-level contract.

As a recap, when a player is drafted, the team that selects them will have an exclusive negotiation window ranging between two and five years (excluding Russian prospects). Teams will have two years to sign their CHL-based prospects,  up to four years to sign their European-based prospects (up to the age of 22)  and up to four years to sign their NCAA-based prospects (the summer in which they graduate).

For European and CHL-based prospects, teams will have until June 1 to decide whether to sign them, while NCAA-based prospects that have just graduated could see their rights expire as of August 15.

This summer, the Montreal Canadiens have five players whose rights are set to expire. It wouldn’t be surprising, given the wealth of incoming prospects and the large bank of picks, if the club decided to qualify only one or two of their youngsters; allowing the rest to either re-enter the draft or hit free agency later this summer.

But who stays and who goes? Let’s take a look:

Jared Davidson

Jared Davidson is a particular case, as he was drafted out of the WHL in 2022 as a 19-year-old; meaning he was eligible to play in the AHL this season under an AHL contract.

Although players are traditionally drafted at 18 in the NHL Draft, the Montreal Canadiens took a flyer on a late bloomer playing in Seattle. He went on to help the Thunderbirds win a WHL title in 2023 and played all year in the AHL before succumbing to a season-ending injury.

In 38 games for the Laval Rocket this season, the 21-year-old notched 11 goals and 16 points; showing promise as a goal-scorer despite very limited minutes.

With better health and more playing time, Davidson could prove to be a valuable member of what is expected to be a very young Laval Rocket roster.

And, given that Davidson turns 22 in July, the Canadiens only need to sign him to a two-year entry-level contract; giving them long-term flexibility should they need the contract slot.

It would be a good bet that Davidson is signed before the June 1 deadline.

Cedrick Guindon

Cedrick Guindon is perhaps the toughest player to gauge on this list as his two-way game is incredibly underrated, but his offensive game hasn’t truly evolved since being drafted.

In his draft year, Guindon put up 30 goals and 59 points in 68 games. After improving to 69 points in 68 games last season, Guindon’s offensive numbers took a big dip, sliding down to 57 points in 68 games.

In Guindon’s defence, the Owen Sound Attack was a much weaker team this season, especially after losing star forward Colby Barlow for a large portion of the season.

However, with many similar prospects already in the Montreal Canadiens system, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Habs cut Guindon loose on June 1.

Petteri Nurmi

Another Canadiens overager draft pick of the 2022 NHL Draft class. Petteri Nurmi looked to be another good bet as a late bloomer coming out of the 7th round.

Drafted as a 20-year-old, the Montreal Canadiens only had two years to monitor Nurmi’s progress, rather than the usual four years afforded to draft-eligible prospects coming out of Europe.

In those two years Nurmi showed some steady process for HPK in the Finnish Liiga, but the logjam of left defencemen, including the recent signing of Adam Engstrom, has pretty much sealed Nurmi’s fate.

Miguël Tourigny

Miguel Tourigny was the third overage selection from the Montreal Canadiens in the 2022 NHL Draft, drafted out of the QMJHL at 20 years of age.

After putting up impressive offensive numbers for the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada and the Acadie-Bathurst Titan, Tourigny went overseas to play in the Slovak Extraliga for Trencin Dukla, where he put up six goals and 26 points in 44 games.

He was then signed to a two-way, AHL deal with the Laval Rocket; playing the entire season with the Montreal Canadiens’ ECHL affiliate, the Trois-Rivières Lions.

Despite the ever-changing cast of teammates, Tourigny was one of the most productive players on the team, putting up nine goals and 38 points in 61 games.

Unfortunately, with the logjam on defence in Laval, it doesn’t seem likely that Tourginy is in the cards long-term. However, one shouldn’t rule out a return to Trois-Rivières if Tourigny would prefer to remain close to home, rather than go to Europe.

Blake Biondi

Picked in the 4th round of the 2020 NHL Draft, Blake Biondi never truly found his game in the NCAA.

After an underwhelming freshman year with Minnesota-Duluth, it looked like Biondi was bouncing back in a good way during his sophomore season.

Unfortunately, a combination of injuries and diminished utilization in his junior and senior years undid all the momentum he created for himself, finishing his senior season with just eight goals and 19 points in 34 games.

It would not be surprising at all to see Biondi go unsigned beyond the August 15 NCAA deadline.

 

** Ty Smilanic was supposed to see his rights expire later this summer as well, but CapFriendly currently lists his rights as being extended indefinitely. **

 

 

 

*For more NHL betting lines and futures, head over to FanDuel

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Mahovlich1971

What is the status of Daniil Sobolev? He is a great bodychecker and is improving each year but I have never heard much about him.

mikeysl

I think Davidson has earned an ELC.
See if you can get Guindon to sign an AHL contract….
Bye Bye Nuurmi, Biondi and tourigny…tho I would sign tourigny to a 2-way AHL if he agrees..maybe bump the dollars to encourage him to play at home..

Dana

None of them will make the Habs roster. Better for all to let them explore other opportunities. I liked Tourniguay a lot in junior, thought he was an nhl skater but lacked size, and was thrilled he got selected in the last round but sadly, I don’t think it’ll work out for him.