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Montreal Canadiens extend qualifying offers to six players

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Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Artturi Lehkonen lead the list of the Habs’ young restricted free agents.

NHL: SEP 17 Preseason - Devils at Canadiens Photo by Vincent Ethier/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

There are seven players headed for restricted free agency in the Montreal Canadiens organization. Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Artturi Lehkonen, Michael McNiven, Michael Pezzetta, Otto Leskinen and Ryan Poehling have been extended one-year qualifying offers to keep their rights with the team when free agency begins at noon on Wednesday, July 28.

Joseph Blandisi and Jake Lucchini did not get offers. Lucchini was signed to an AHL contract with the Laval Rocket.

Qualifying offers are automatically calculated based on the value of the expiring contract, with the minimum salary for the 2021-22 season being $750,000. This is what the offers look like:

Qualifying offer details

Player QO Salary Arbitration eligible Offer sheet eligible
Player QO Salary Arbitration eligible Offer sheet eligible
Jesperi Kotkaniemi $874,125 No Yes
Artturi Lehkonen $2,200,000 Yes Yes
Otto Leskinen $874,125 Yes Yes
Michael McNiven $750,000 Yes Yes
Michael Pezzetta $750,000 No Yes
Ryan Poehling $874,125 No No

By extending these offers, Montreal also has the option to match an offer sheet signed by one of the eligible players (anyone but Poehling). Players can also choose to sign this contract and have that serve as their deal for next season with the Canadiens organization.

It’s more likely a different contact altogether will be negotiated between Marc Bergevin and the players’ agents instead. We can expect to see some signings for these players in the next few days as the rosters get fleshed out for the new season.