Montreal Canadiens Don't Extend Qualifying Offers To Four Players

The Laval Rocket lost three pieces when the Canadiens failed to extend qualifying offers to three players.
Montreal Canadiens v Ottawa Senators
Montreal Canadiens v Ottawa Senators / Chris Tanouye/Freestyle Photo/GettyImages

The Montreal Canadiens barely had any contract slots open heading into this year's offseason. The Canadiens had ten contract slots remaining at the end of June, but they were starting to fill after the signing of Connor Hughes. On Sunday, the Canadiens made another move when they traded Johnathan Kovacevic to the New Jersey Devils.

The Canadiens had decisions to make with some of their restricted free agents, which led them to allow Jesse Ylonen, Lias Andersson, Filip Cederqvist, and Mattias Norlinder to become free agents on July 1st. The Canadiens would have loved to keep them as valuable options in Laval, but the contract crunch didn't afford them the luxury.

Let's look at the Montreal Canadiens careers of the three players who are no longer with the organization.

Jesse Ylonen

The Montreal Canadiens drafted Ylonen with the 35th overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft. After the draft, Ylonen played two seasons with the Lahti Pelicans before signing a contract to play the rest of the season in Laval.

Ylonen's North American stay was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Canadiens loaned him back to Lahti for the start of the season but returned to Laval when the season began. He scored nine goals and 17 points and made his NHL debut on May 11th, 2021.

Ylonen split time between Montreal and Laval from 2021-2023, before becoming a full-time member of the Habs this past season. He recorded eight points in 59 games.

Lias Andersson

The New York Rangers drafted Andersson with the seventh overall pick in the 2017 NHL Draft. He debuted with Frolunda HC the following season, recording 14 points in 22 games.

Andersson couldn't get his footing with the Rangers, spending most of his time in the AHL. He returned to Sweden and requested a trade from the Rangers organization. The Rangers traded him to the Kings for a second-round pick in 2020. He played 44 games with the Kings, tallying eight points.

Andersson signed a one-year two-way contract with the Canadiens before the 2023-24 season. He had to be passed through waivers after training camp and spent the rest of his season in the AHL. Andersson was a force in Laval, with 45 points in 53 games.

Andersson's third trip to North America ended like his first two, by signing a contract to play in a European league. He will play on a two-year contract with EHC Biel-Bienne in the National League.

Filip Cederqvist

Cederqvist signed with the Sabres before the 2022-23 season, playing 55 games with the Rochester Americans. Halfway through the 2023-24 season, the Sabres traded Cederqvist to the Canadiens for future considerations.

Cederqvist played the rest of the season in Laval with seven points through 34 games. He left the organization to sign with Frolunda for the 2024-25 season.

Mattias Norlinder

Norlinder is another on the list who was a Habs draft pick. The Canadiens drafted him with the 64th pick in the 2019 NHL Draft. After the 2020-21 season, Norlinder signed a three-year entry-level deal with the Canadiens to begin his professional career in Laval.

Norlinder played six games in the AHL and NHL before returning to Frolunda to further his development. The development lasted for the rest of the year, but Norlinder returned to Laval to play the next two seasons.

Norlinder would never get another opportunity to play in the NHL, recording just 28 points over 117 games in Laval. The Canadiens recalled him in November 2023, but he was just a healthy scratch until December 10th when David Savard returned from injury.