The Montreal Canadiens could lose 7 young players, including two surprises

Published August 28, 2023 at 5:25 PM
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When an NHL club drafts a prospect, it acquires exclusive rights to that player for a certain duration, which varies based on the region or league they come from. For example, the rights to a player drafted from the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) belong to an NHL club for a maximum of two years. If, after two years, the team decides not to recruit the player, he can re-enter the draft for another team to sign him.

However, in Europe or the NCAA, once your rights expire after four years, you become a free agent able to sign with any team in the league, rather than going back into the draft like CHL players.

Below you will find the limit for each region in terms of signing prospects:

Canadian Hockey League: 2 years
NCAA: After finishing the last year of college, generally 4 years.
Europe: 4 years
Russia: Indefinitely


Knowing this and seeing how the Canadiens have drafted over the years, it's normal for many prospects to leave the organization after the deadline to reach an agreement with the club has expired. The site TSLH recently submitted a list of seven players who will need to come to terms with the organization soon as their rights will expire at the end of the 2023-2024 season.

Here are the 7 players in question.

Blake Biondi (21 years old) 4th round pick in 2020
Jared Davidson (21 years old) 5th round pick in 2022
Cedrick Guindon (19 years old) 4th round pick in 2022
Petteri Nurmi (21 years old) 7th round pick in 2022
Ty Smilanic (21 years old) 3rd round pick in 2020
Miguel Tourigny (21 years old) 7th round pick in 2022
Luke Tuch (21 years old) 2nd round pick in 2020

The next season for these players is crucial, and they will need to impress the organization enough to earn a contract. However, it's certain that the Habs won't come to terms with all these picks, so it'll be interesting to see how Kent Hughes manages this.

The GM could, if he doesn't offer an entry-level contract to one of these players, go with another option. As he did with Brett Stapley, who was in the same situation last year, it's possible to give a player an AHL contract to test him in professional hockey. This strategy was also used with Rafaël Harvey-Pinard, Xavier Simoneau, and more recently Miguel Tourigny.

The defenseman went through Slovakia last year before joining the Canadiens for the 2023-2024 season. The signing of this AHL deal pushed back the expiration of his rights to June 1, 2024.

From the players listed above, I don't see how Blake Biondi, Cedrick Guindon, and Petteri Nurmi could receive any offer from the Habs. An NHL or even AHL deal is however very likely for Jared Davidson, Ty Smilanic, Miguel Tourigny, and Luke Tuch.

What are your predictions?
POLL
August 28   |   428 answers
The Montreal Canadiens could lose 7 young players, including two surprises

Which one would you let go?

Davidson6114.3 %
Smilanic15937.1 %
Tuch6415 %
None of the three14433.6 %
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