Of the eighteen players on the Canadiens roster who qualified for restricted free agency, ten will continue in the organization while another eight have been released and will become unrestricted free agents on Sunday.
The Canadiens had until 5.00pm Monday to submit qualifying offers to their roster players who qualify for restricted free agency. Failure to ‘qualify’ players results in their team losing exclusive rights over them and the players become unrestricted free agents on July 1st.
Ten players received offers including forwards Lars Eller, Ryan White, Aaron Palushaj and Andreas Engqvist plus defensemen P.K. Subban, Rafael Diaz, Alexei Emelin, Brendon Nash and Frederic St. Denis.
Carey Price had also qualified as a restricted free agent but the Canadiens avoided a potential outside offer sheet by offering salary arbitration, a procedure that gives Marc Bergevin time to negotiate a long term deal.
Not receiving offers were forwards Michael Blunden and Petteri Nokelainen along with Hamilton’s Mark Mitera, Hunter Bishop, Olivier Fortier, Robert Slaney, Andrew Conboy and Dany Masse. All have been released and will be unrestricted free agents Sunday.
The Canadiens have until July first to sign the players. They then become restricted free agents and other teams can submit offer sheets. The Canadiens then have the right to match an offer or walk away.
Releasing eight players leaves nine vacancies on the Canadiens reserve list which is limited to fifty. The openings leave room for free agent signings including possibly Travis Moen, Mathieu Darche and Brad Staubitz.