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The Montreal Canadiens waiver wire situaton

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Who risks being lost on the waiver wire?

Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

The Canadiens have an abundance of one-way contracts. 25 to be exact. Which means they'll have to expose a few players on waivers prior to the 2016-17 season. Let's take a look at which players risk being exposed.

The rules

WAIVERS AND LOANS OF PLAYERS TO MINOR LEAGUE CLUBS

13.1 A Club shall not dispose of the services of any Player in which it has a proprietary interest by Loan to a club of another league without first having complied with the provisions of this Article. The Waivers that are recognized by this Agreement are Regular Waivers and Unconditional Waivers.

13.2 The "Playing Season Waiver Period" shall begin on the twelfth (12th) day prior to the start of the Regular Season and end on the day following the last day of a Club's Playing Season. Subject to the provisions of this Article, the rights to the services of a Player may be Loaned to a club of another league, upon fulfillment of the following conditions, except when elsewhere expressly prohibited:

(a) Regular Waivers were requested and cleared during the Playing Season Waiver Period; and (b) the Player has not played in ten (10) or more NHL Games cumulative since Regular Waivers on him were last cleared, and more than thirty (30) days cumulative on an NHL roster have not passed since Regular Waivers on him were last cleared.

13.4 Exempt Players. Players who meet the criteria set forth below are exempt from Regular Waivers:

Goalies

Player Waiver Eligible
Mike Condon Yes
Zachary Fucale No
Charlie Lindgren No
Michael McNiven No
Al Montoya * Yes
Carey Price * Yes

* = projected roster player

The goalies are fairly straightforward. The Habs have two options. Either risk losing Condon on waivers and go with the veteran Montoya as a backup, or send Montoya to St. John's. By doing the latter, they would save $375,000 on the salary cap.

The verdict: Considering Price's recent injury woes, it seems likely that the Canadiens will risk losing Condon on waivers, or they could attempt to trade him before October rolls around. It's debatable whether or not Condon would be claimed. He had a very rough rookie season, although it would be unfair to judge him solely on his play as a starting goalie, given that he was signed as a backup.

Pre-season action will go a long way in determining which goalie is best suited to backup Price, but seeing as Montoya brings a veteran presence to the table, he seems to have the inside track.

Defencemen

Player Waiver Eligible
Mark Barberio * Yes
Nathan Beaulieu * Yes
Alexei Emelin * Yes
Joel Hanley No
Ryan Johnston No
Noah Juulsen No
Brett Lernout No
Andrei Markov * Yes
Tom Parisi No
Greg Pateryn * Yes
Jeff Petry * Yes
Zach Redmond Yes
Philip Samuelsson Yes
Mikhail Sergachev No
Dalton Thrower No
Shea Weber * Yes

* = projected roster player

There are two players at risk of being exposed to waivers among defenders: Philip Samuelsson and Zach Redmond. Samuelsson is likely to clear without much trouble, although the same can't be assumed for Redmond. He put together very encouraging numbers with Colorado last year, and he's seen as somewhat of an analytics darling. His hidden value might be sought after by competing clubs.

Player Waiver Eligible
Sven Andrighetto Yes
Daniel Audette No
Tim Bozon No
Paul Byron * Yes
Daniel Carr No
Phillip Danault * Yes
Jacbo de la Rose No
David Desharnais * Yes
Bobby Farnham Yes
Brian Flynn Yes
Max Friberg Yes
Alex Galchenyuk * Yes
Brendan Gallagher * Yes
Jeremy Gregoire No
Charles Hudon No
Artturi Lehkonen No
Mark MacMillan No
Stefan Matteau Yes
Michael McCarron No
Torrey Mitchell * Yes
Max Pacioretty * Yes
Tomas Plekanec * Yes
Alexander Radulov * Yes
Martin Reway No
Nikita Scherbak No
Andrew Shaw * Yes
Chris Terry Yes

* projected roster player

This is where things get interesting. Due to a glut of one-way contracts, the Canadiens are in tricky situation when it comes to forwards.

There are 10 forwards that seem to have cemented a place in the lineup next year: Pacioretty, Galchenyuk, Gallagher, Radulov, Plekanec, Shaw, Desharnais, Mitchell, Danault, and Byron.

That leaves three possible spots for Carr, Andrighetto, Lehkonen, Flynn, Hudon, Terry, de la Rose, Farnham, and Matteau.

Carr probably deserves a roster spot, but the fact that he doesn't have to pass through waivers works against him. Andrighetto is someone who will likely compete with Carr to earn one of the coveted 13 forward positions, but unlike his counterpart the Canadiens have to risk losing him on waivers if he's sent to St. John's. As it stands, you could argue that Andrighetto has the best odds of making it out of the two.

De la Rose would probably benefit from a full year in the AHL, and like Carr he's not eligible for waivers.

Flynn is the perfect 13th forward. He brings a veteran presence, is versatile, and worst case the entirety of his salary hit can be buried in the minors. If we factor in Andrighetto and Flynn's spots, we're down to one available roster spot.

Which quickly disqualifies someone like Hudon, again his waiver eligibility will likely work against him, and despite a plethora of injuries last season, Hudon was only given a two-game audition by the Canadiens. I'm not convinced they value him as a high-end prospect.

The wildcard is Artturi Lehkonen. I get the sense that they're reserving a spot for him. Logically, they wouldn't have signed him this summer if they weren't intent on giving him a good look, seeing as they would have held his rights next year and there was no rush to get him under contract. He's versatile, defensively responsible, and has a full complement of offensive tools. From what we've seen in the SHL, Lehkonen truly is the complete package, which bodes well for his roster hopes.

There's no guarantee Marc Bergevin sees the waiver situation the same way as I do, but if they do go this route, these are the players that will be exposed to waivers come October:

  • Mike Condon
  • Zach Redmond
  • Philip Samuelsson
  • Bobby Farnham
  • Max Friberg
  • Stefan Matteau
  • Chris Terry

There's not a lot of talent in there, and other than Redmond there's fairly good odds that they would all go unclaimed.

If Bergevin plays his cards right, he'll avoid losing any important players on waivers. Of course, the roster may change significantly from here to opening day, and a prospect may impress at camp, but in terms of waiver risks the Canadiens are in relatively good shape.