The 2019 NHL off-season free agency is beginning to slow down after a crazy few weeks of moves around the league. Montreal overall as stayed relatively quiet over the past few weeks, but have made some trades that have opened up cap room for them moving forward. They opened up some cap room with trading away Andrew Shaw to Chicago in exchange for three future draft picks. But that cap space which people thought was leading up to a big move hasn’t yet, but there have been subtle rumours about Patrick Laine and an offer-sheet. We all know how the first offer-sheet of the offseason went for Montreal.
Most of the moves Montreal made came in the form of re-signing players from last year. Lehkonen, Kulak, Ouellet, Reilly, Hudon and Armia got contracts to re-sign in Montreal. If we look at these re-signing, Ouellet will likely spend the majority of the year with the Rocket in Laval. Hudon’s deal is smart seeing that Montreal owned his rights, the one-year, one-way deal could possibly put Hudon on the market to be traded.
The biggest move would be the signing of Ben Chiarot. Chiarot signed a three-year deal worth $10.5 million. Chiarot will see top-four minutes for Montreal this season. It may not be a big name like Jake Gardiner but it should be a solid move especially with guys like Noah Juulsen who will look to get some NHL minutes next season.
There have been some rumours going around about the Habs bringing back Andrei Markov on a one-year deal. Markov won’t be the same Markov he was two years ago. He will be a guy who will see time may 10-15 minutes a night along with some help on a power play which could definitely use some help.
The Montreal Canadiens came into the off-season in search of a back-up goaltender after Antti Niemi signed a one-year deal in the KHL. Montreal would end up signing free agent goaltender Keith Kinkaid to a one-year deal worth $1.75 million. He will be the back-up for the Habs in Montreal next season and should get about 25 starts. This will give Price some well-needed rest as he has played over 60 games the past three seasons.
Charlie Lindgren is likely on the way out as he would need to clear waivers to be added to the current roster. It would be expected that the Habs would want to get a draft pick in return for the 25-year-old goaltender. Prospect wise in goal for Montreal, Habs fans should keep an eye on Cayden Primeau from Northeastern University.
Montreal staying quiet this year is probably one of the smartest moves they made. Next year they will have to make some major decisions as Max Domi and Victor Mete will both be restricted free agent’s after next season. These two players have been a key part of the Canadiens and will both look to get a hefty raise on their paychecks. The back-up role will once again be empty unless Kinkaid can prove himself and earn himself an extended stay in Montreal.