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Montreal Canadiens

Potential Montreal Canadiens Free Agent Exodus On The Horizon

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Montreal Canadiens NHL Trade

The Montreal Canadiens are closing in on the 50-contract limit, meaning they’re unlikely to retain any of their pending free agents.

With seven unrestricted free agents (UFA) up for renewal, General Manager Kent Hughes and his group would have to decide who to retain before July 1.

The Canadiens want to shake up their roster in a big way this summer, in an effort to challenge for a playoff spot.

However, at the moment, they’re not predicted to make it to the spring dance next season according to bet365, which has been reviewed by The Punters Page and rated as the leading platform for NHL betting. That means they’ll have to be extremely selective, if not downright unapologetic, about letting their current crop of UFAs loose to venture into the free agent market.

One decision will be relatively easy, as veteran Chris Wideman may very well officially announce his retirement, after it was teased at the end of the season in April.

For the other six players, things are not looking good.

Tanner Pearson

Due to the Vancouver Canucks’ own salary cap issues, Tanner Pearson was swiftly traded to Montreal, for goaltender Casey DeSmith and a third-round pick in the 2025 NHL Draft.

It was a great way for the Montreal Canadiens to optimize their cap space and solve their four-goalie rotation issue before the start of the season, all while extracting a 3rd rounder from Vancouver.

However, Pearson was not much of a difference maker for the Canadiens this season, despite a strong start. Injuries and a lack of consistency saw Pearson stapled to the Canadiens’ fourth line, even in the face of injuries across the lineup.

The 31-year-old is likely to be let loose in favour of younger talent like Emil Heineman or Joshua Roy, as the club continues its youth movement.

Colin White

Much like Chris Tierney the year prior, Colin White was a timely waiver pickup for the Canadiens that was made at a time of dire need for depth up the middle.

At the time, injuries and the timely trade of Sean Monahan to the Winnipeg Jets had forced the Montreal Canadiens to ice a roster with only three centres; thus making winger Raphaël Harvey-Pinard take the draws on the fourth line.

By plucking White off of waivers from the Florida Panthers, the Canadiens were able to secure a stopgap until the end of the season.

White didn’t register a single point in his 17 games with Montreal and is expected to be cut loose this summer.

Philippe Maillet

A native of Lachenaie, a borough just outside Montreal, the skilled forward made his way back to North America after a two-year stint in the KHL.

He was signed with the idea of being one of the Laval Rocket’s top-two centres, primarily to help a roster filled with talented wingers to find their bearings at the pro level.

For Maillet, there was also the potential of eventually being recalled to the Montreal Canadiens in the event of injuries, but, even in the face of bleak roster options at centre, he was never recalled.

Maillet was a good soldier for Laval nonetheless, notching 21 goals and 53 points in 67 games. However, there has been some chatter that he could be venturing back overseas, as the earning potential is much higher than the AHL.

Mitchell Stephens

After spending the entire 2022-2023 campaign with the Laval Rocket, Mitchell Stephens finally had his cup of coffee with the Montreal Canadiens this season.

Suiting up for 23 games, he registered two goals and one assists, all while playing a sound two-way game on the Canadiens’ fourth line.

However, his value, similarly to Maillet’s, was as a top-six centre for the Laval Rocket. After seemingly regaining his confidence during his stint with the Canadiens, Maillet became an important piece in the Laval Rocket’s late-season playoff push.

Although the club was unsuccessful, Stephens showed why he was so well-regarded within the organization.

However, with the likes of Owen Beck and Filip Mesar joining the club next season, playing time may be hard to come by. It’s not out of the question that Stephens will be re-signed, but you would fault the man for seeking a better opportunity elsewhere.

Arnaud Durandeau

A late-season addition just before the AHL Trade Deadline, Arnaud Durandeau, was brought in to help the Laval Rocket’s offence muster up more goals.

In his 10 games with the Rocket, Durandeau put up two goals and six points, which is respectable considering Laval was his third team in the 2023-2024 season.

However, with the glut of wingers already on the club, and the arrival of Luke Touch, Florian Xhekaj, and Filip Mesar, room is starting to dwindle along the wings.

One would expect Durandeau to be released.

Brady Keeper

Keeper was a solid veteran presence for the Laval Rocket last season, helping to stabilize the defensive corps whenever he was in the lineup.

With youngsters Logan Mailloux, Adam Engstrom, David Reinbacher and possibly even Lane Hutson expected to patrol the Laval Rocket blue line this season, it would be wise to have a veteran presence there to better support the youngsters.

Keeper was well respected within the room and could be one of the very few UFAs that is retained by the Canadiens.

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

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mikeysl

would dearly like to keep one of stephens/maillet…

Greg

Hughes acquired White–his former client when Hughes was an agent–by waivers off Pittsburgh, where he played 11 games and had 0 pts there also. Hughes did his old client a favor, and sent Gignac down despite the fact he was playing well, all to try and save the Rocket’s playoff hopes. It was a lousy way to treat Gignac, and a type of nepotism I hope never to see out of Hughes again. White should hang up the skates, he is done.
None of the listed players should be re-signed, and will be pretty easily replaced for their play.

Ghg55

I don’t think I could ever misread a situation as poorly as you misread the one with Gignac…
Player development is a massive priority for the team. Getting the kids to play playoff games is immensely beneficial for their development. This had nothing to do with “nepotism” and everything to do with giving Laval the best shot at the playoffs. Sure, gignac could’ve stayed with Montreal, barely seeing the ice and not doing anything to help his value for future contracts, all while not contributing to anything important as the habs were a bottom feeder. Or he could play top minutes in Laval, racking up pts, help kids develop, and push for the playoffs.
Getting White meant getting a player Hughes knew would play the role that most players don’t want to play (little ice time, poor deployment, focus on kids etc) while also helping Gignac, Laval, and the kids. It was a very simple move that clearly accounted for team priorities while adding familiarity to the situation

I swear, some habs “fans” just like to hallucinate things to cry about.

DAVID

Only the most diehard fan would have any interest in these players futures

Tyrone

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye…

Joshwa

Didnt like what I seen from keeper, at the national aborginal championships in saskatoon, back in may. What a sore loser. N hes suppose be some1 my grandson looks up too. Has a aborginal hockey player👎👎. Its great he made it, dont get me wrong. But after his display when his home community was eliminated makes me sick 👎🤮🤮

Eddy

I noticed that Phillip Maillet had 53 points in 67 games in the AHL and 53 points in 66 games in the KHL. This leads me to conclude that the KHL and AHL are a similar level of play, although there are several players in the KHL who have a lot of talent.

Peter

I wasn’t aware that Montreal traded Casey Desmith and a third round draft pick to Vancouver for Tanner Pearson. Obviously it was a salary dump by Vancouver and they traded the pick to the Habs!

marshall

Very poorly written article. The Canadiens got a third round pick with Pearson – they didn’t trade DeSmith and a 3rd for Pearson as the author suggests. Also, who is Luke Touch? Never heard of him – I do know Luke Tuch, though. Poorly written and no proof read. Amateur journalism.

Steve

Seriously? Poorly worded yes but clearly explained in the next paragraph in regards to the 3rd and as for Luke Touch clearly a typo that I didn’t even notice. We knew who he meant. If you have never read Marco’s stuff and you got a couple of typos and thought amateur I will give you the benefit of the doubt but If you are a regular reader shame on you. The dude provides us with tonnes of great shit every month..

marshall

He should proof read his articles. Plain and simple. I learned that in grade 8.