In this edition of Montreal Canadiens News & Rumors, I’ll try to help Canadiens fans keep up to the news within the organization.
Item One: Montreal Has Signed Brendan Gallagher to a Six-Year Contract Extension
Just when Brendan Gallagher’s agent Gerry Johannson announced that contract talks between the Canadiens and Gallagher had broken off, obviously they hadn’t. Gallagher had a season left on his six-year, $22.5 million contract, so there wasn’t a huge need to reach an agreement. Still, it had to be a concern that the two sides couldn’t reach some understanding.
In fact, when the word went out that Gallagher and the Canadiens couldn’t sign, there was trade speculation and a number of other NHL teams lined up – not the least of which was the Vancouver Canucks who just saw their own UFA Tyler Toffoli sign with the Habs. That would have been interesting.
Gallagher’s play over the past three seasons had seemed to warrant a raise. He scored 22 goals and 43 points in 59 games in the COVID-19-shortened 2019-20 season; and, in the two seasons previously he had topped the 30-goal mark each season.
The contract is for five seasons with an AAV of $6.5 million. The upshot is that Gallagher’s not going to be traded.
Item Two: Jake Allen Signs Two-Year Contract Extension with Canadiens
Early in September, the Canadiens acquired goaltender Jake Allen from the St. Louis Blues for draft choices. It was a good deal for Montreal because Allen had been the starter in St. Louis until Jordan Binnington had arrived on the scene and led the Blues to the 2019 Stanley Cup.
Allen had become the backup in St. Louis this past season and played in 24 games, with a record of 12-6-3, a goals-against-average of 2.15, a save percentage of .927, and two shutouts. He’ll have that same role in Montreal where he’ll back up Carey Price. Allen had another season left on his contract, with a salary-cap hit of $4.35 million.
Allen has signed a two-year contract extension with the Canadiens with an AAV of $2.875 million. Had Allen not signed an agreement with the team, he would have been eligible to become a UFA after the 2020-21 campaign. From a strategic point of view, signing Allen becomes an opportunity for the Canadiens to expose a goalie in the Seattle expansion draft.
Item Three: Tyler Toffoli Signs with the Canadiens
On October 12, Tyler Toffoli signed a four-year deal with the Canadiens with an AAV of $4.25 million. Last season, Toffoli scored 24 goals and 44 points in 68 games playing between the Los Angeles Kings and the Canucks. There was no doubt that his time with the Canucks was productive (six goals and 10 points in 10 regular-season games); however, he was given the Canucks’ permission to see what he could do on the open market. He landed well.
Next season, Toffoli will likely play as a middle-six forward for the Canadiens. Although Toffoli’s mostly played on the right wing as a professional, there was news today that he might line up on the left wing next season because the team already has Gallagher, Josh Anderson, and Joel Armia playing right-wing. In fact, Toffoli suggested that he and Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin have already spoken about him moving to the left side and the 28-year-old is open to such a move.
Item Four: Two Pieces of Charles Hudon News
The Canadiens Charles Hudon has been in the news for a couple of reasons. First, he has decided against filing for arbitration. After a strong 2017-18 season, his game has fallen off a bit. Last season, Hudon only scored a goal and an assist in 15 games. However, in the AHL he scored 27 goals in 46 games for Laval.
Over the past few days, it was discovered why Hudon didn’t opt for arbitration. He’s on his way to Switzerland to play for Lausanne. This news hasn’t been confirmed, but several sources have shared it. We’ll know more later.
Item Five: Xavier Ouellet Signs Contract Extension with Canadiens
Xavier Ouellet signed a two-year, two-way contract extension with the Canadiens that will pay him $737,500 if he plays at the NHL level and $425,000 if he plays at Laval in the AHL. Ouellet is a veteran defenseman who serves as a solid depth player with the Canadiens.
Although he only played in 12 regular-season games for the team, he did dress for 10 postseason games. He’ll likely start the season in Laval.
Item Six: Brandon Baddock Signs for One Year
Last week, Brandon Baddock signed a one-year, two-way contract with Canadiens. The contract calls for $700,000 at the NHL level and $110,000 if he plays at the AHL level. Baddock played 50 games with the Binghamton Devils of the AHL last season and scored six goals and nine assists.
Item Seven: Victor Mete Signs One-Year Contract Extension
Victor Mete signed a $735,000 one-year contract extension with the Canadiens. Mete had taken a long time before he scored his first NHL goal – 126 games, 14 minutes and 37 seconds to be exact – he did end up with four goals and 11 points in 51 games with the Canadiens last season. Mete’s a pretty good player, actually, and should play on Montreal’s third-defense pairing next season.
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