Montreal Canadiens Free Agents: Who Stays and Who Goes?

Apr 29, 2022; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens defenseman Chris Wideman. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 29, 2022; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens defenseman Chris Wideman. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports /
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Apr 21, 2022; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens center Mathieu Perreault. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 21, 2022; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens center Mathieu Perreault. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports /

UFAs That Need To Go

Cedric Paquette was brought in as a hometown depth piece for the Canadiens lineup but he was eventually demoted to the Laval Rocket. The 28 year old veteran of close to 450 NHL games will go elsewhere looking for another NHL opportunity.

Sami Niku played fine for the Habs, but again, the team needs to clear out a little space in the organization for Guhle, Norlinder, Xhekaj, Barron and Harris to play their first full seasons in Quebec. Niku, like Clague, just didn’t show quite enough and will have to leave to give younger players more opportunity.

Mathieu Perreault, like Paquette, was a local guy brought in to bring depth to the team. it didn’t really work out and he had just nine points in 25 games this season. The 34 year old might have just ended his NHL career.

Tyler Pitlick would probably be a decent option to play on a “transition” team in a bottom six role. But the Canadiens are already way overpaying a bunch of wingers, like Mike Hoffman, Joel Armia and Paul Byron to play in the bottom six so they don’t need him.

William Lagesson played just three games after being acquired at the trade deadline. The 26 year old was clearly just a throw-in to the Brett Kulak deal to balance out the contracts and he will move on this summer.

Xavier Ouellet has been the captain of the Laval Rocket for the past three seasons. He scored 41 points in 61 games this season, but it is time to pass the torch to the younger defencemen. Guhle, Xhekaj, Norlinder and Gianni Fairbrother all shoot left and Corey Schueneman and Jordan Harris could spend some time in Laval next season as well. You don’t want a player like Norlinder sitting as a healthy scratch in the AHL, so they need to make room by letting Ouellet walk.

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