The Montreal Canadiens dig into their core RFAs extending Lukas Vejdemo

Lukas Vejdemo saw some time with the Montreal Canadiens this past season and could have a chance at more with a new one-year contract extension.

The Montreal Canadiens have knocked down another restricted free agent signing with Lukas Vejdemo. The first three were with Alex Belzile, Gustav Olofsson and Laurent Dauphin in March and April. Belzile wound up playing games with the Habs against the Philadelphia Flyers once Dale Weise and Jordan Weal were taken out of the lineup, and you could argue Vejdemo could’ve gotten a look if he was on the roster. But there’s hope for next season now.

Vejdemo spent the most of the 2019-20 season in the AHL with the Laval Rocket. In 47 games, the centre put up 9 goals and 10 assists for a total of 19 points. It was a 10 point decrease from his totals the year before (13 goals and 16 assists for 29 points in 66 games), and his points-per-game dropped from 0.44 to 0.40.

However, offence isn’t what Vejdemo is known for. He’s a defence-first player and was used in a lot of key situations for the Rocket. And when the Montreal Canadiens needed a call-up, he made his NHL debut, playing in seven games and scoring his first NHL goal in his last game up against the Nashville Predators.

The new deal has followed the same formula as the previous three contracts Marc Bergevin has handed out. It’s a one-year two-way contract at $700,000, identical to Belzile.

If Vejdemo can return to the AHL and have an improved season, he’ll have evidence and weight behind a demand to ask for more. Additionally, if he were to play games with the Montreal Canadiens again, it’s a relatively insignificant cap hit while the player would likely bring more value to the roster.

Of course, the elephant in the room is whether there will even be an American Hockey League this season. There are open spots in the bottom-six, so Lukas Vejdemo does have a chance to fight for one, and if so, that’ll be another prospect the Habs have drafted and developed into an NHL player.

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