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Which Canadiens Make the Short-Leash List After Offseason Changes

With so many changes to the Montreal Canadiens roster, did anyone’s job in Montreal just get a bit more uncertain?

Perhaps no team made as many changes as the Montreal Canadiens did this offseason. And, while change is good for most players and the rest of the roster is likely happy the team has a better shot of winning, that many roster moves can change the dynamic for currently employed players, who at one time, were key but may not be relied upon as heavily moving forward.

Related: Montreal Canadiens Coach Calls Max Domi “Expendable”

Making as many changes as GM Marc Bergevin did, he had to spend money. Big contracts went to Josh Anderson, Brendan Gallagher, Joel Edmundson, Jake Allen and Tyler Toffoli. The Canadiens have future stars that will also require serious investments as time rolls on. That means, those players who don’t fall into the “just invested in” or “the club knows they’ll invest in” categories will have to fight for their jobs. It’s why Max Domi was moved. It’s why Phillip Danault is a bit concerned about his role moving forward.

Is there anyone else that should either get to stepping up their production or expect to be on the first train out of Montreal?

Tomas Tatar Has One More Season

The 2020-21 season is Tatar’s last as far as a current contract goes with the Canadiens. A tighter cap means he’s likely not looking at an extension unless he makes himself absolutely indispensable. Even then, it’s hard to know how much the Canadiens can afford to hand out to Tatar should they want to bring him back.

tomas tatar montreal Canadiens
tomas tatar montreal Canadiens

He’s likely not looking at taking a discount beyond what he’ll have to take in a flat cap NHL because he’s coming off of back-to-back career seasons. He’s only 29 and he scored 58 points in 2018-19 and a 61 points in a shortened 2019-20. He’ll be coveted if he hits the market. There’s no need to lose money unless he absolutely only wants to play in Montreal.

Brett Kulak to Odd Defenseman Out

Considering the recent investments in the blue and the status of players like Shea Weber and Ben Chiarot, Brett Kulak is potentially the piece that doens’t fit as he heads into the second year of a three year contract. He makes just $1.85 million and is good value for the dollar but if the Canadiens find themselves tight on cap space, he’s the asset they probably trade, especially if his role decreases.

There could be others, but these two players might be on a list of moves that Marc Bergevin can pull out of his back pocket should he decide to make additional changes. For both players, their production needs to stay high and their value strong or they may find they don’t fit in the long-term plans for the Canadiens moving forward.

Next: Bergevin (Habs), Sakic (Avs) Show NHL Clubs Can Make Impactful Moves

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