The Montreal Canadiens have over $18 million in signing bonuses to pay today

CALGARY, AB - DECEMBER 19: Carey Price #31 of the Montreal Canadiens in action against the Calgary Flames during an NHL game at Scotiabank Saddledome on December 19, 2019 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)
CALGARY, AB - DECEMBER 19: Carey Price #31 of the Montreal Canadiens in action against the Calgary Flames during an NHL game at Scotiabank Saddledome on December 19, 2019 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images) /

The NHL is dishing out signing bonuses for its players for the 2020-21 season, and the Montreal Canadiens are going to have some serious money to distribute.

July 1st is the day where teams spend and spend in order to improve their teams. The Montreal Canadiens were probably going to be one of those organizations looking at Free Agent Frenzy with Taylor Hall and Alex Pietrangelo, to name a few being available. At least, that’s what it usually is.

Teams are going to be dishing out money as the sun rises on Canada in the Great White North but not for the reason hockey fans are used to. This comes from TSN’s Bob McKenzie, who has been one of the top voices sharing information on the underlying workings of the NHL.

According to McKenzie, NHL teams will be paying their players signing bonuses for the 2020-21 season. In total, this amounts to over $300 million dollars, and the Montreal Canadiens are going to be responsible for approximately 6% of that.

There are 24 players on the Habs who are going to be getting that signing bonus check:

Jonathan Drouin – $2 million
Tomas Tatar – $905,660
Brendan Gallagher – $1.75 million
Arturi Lehkonen – $200,000
Jeff Petry – $1 million
Karl Alzner – $1.5 million
Ben Chiarot – $1 million
Carey Price – $8.75 million
Charlie Lindgren – $50,000
Joel Teasdale – $60,000
Jesperi Kotkaniemi – $92,500
Ryan Poehling – $92,500
Hayden Verbeek – $60,000
Alexandre Alain – $60,000
Michael Pezzetta – $50,000
Cameron Hillis -$92,500
Arsen Khisamutdinov – $70,000
Jesse Ylonen – $92,500
Otto Leskinen – $92,500
Josh Brook – $92,500
Cale Fleury – $80,000
Alexander Romanov – $92,500
Cayden Primeau – $92,500
Vasili Demchenko – $92,500

All of Montreal’s signing bonuses amount to $18,368,160, which in relative terms, isn’t that much. One of the key reasons is the lack of long term deals Marc Bergevin has had to sign.

light. Related Story. Future salary cap projections

There’s been a trend over the last few years when it comes to the structure of deals. This has the bulk of the salary given to the player as a signing bonus, whereas their literal salary from the team is below $1 million.

For most, it was a precautionary measure in case the NHL decided to go through a lockout if the league and the player’s association couldn’t come together on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. Nevertheless, there are other benefits to structuring a contract like this as it’s a way to get more of your money faster as it’s given on a single day instead of spreading it out through the season.

Another thing the signing bonus structure does is make the deals buyout proof. Since buyout penalties are calculated view player salary, there isn’t any benefit to buying out a player on this kind of deal as there is no cap help. Combine that with the fact that these kinds of contracts are taxed less if you’re also an American resident, and the positives are endless.

The only player on the Montreal Canadiens who has a contract of this format is Carey Price. The Habs signed that deal with the star goaltender on July 2nd, 2017, when talks of a CBA extension were far from a guarantee. Because of that, Bergevin went down the route of making the majority of Price’s pay come through signing bonuses.

In that first season of the deal (2018-19 season), Price’s base salary was only $2 million, but he received a $13 million signing bonus. The same thing occurred this past season, and now, on this date where teams have to shell out the money, Montreal owes Price the most of any player in the organization.

It won’t be long before these contracts become more common on the Montreal Canadiens, but it’s a selective few who get these deals. Looking around the league, the likes of Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews, and Steven Stamkos, to name a few, have contracts such as these. They are stars of their respective teams and can warrant that kind of money being paid to them.

Who will be next for the Habs? Bergevin will need more assurance from Domi, Kotkaniemi, and Victor Mete before dealing out that kind of cash, but is Nick Suzuki following that trend?

Next. Upcoming trade options for the Habs. dark

It’ll be interesting to see how the nature of Montreal’s cap structure changes over the years. Although it is a lot of money, it’s also a sign of the kind of talent an organization has. And it doesn’t take a hockey expert to say that the Montreal Canadiens need more of that.

Acknowledgements: Contract information from Capfriendly.