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Rene Bourque clears waivers, what are the Canadiens' options?

Rene Bourque went unclaimed on waivers, which means the Canadiens have a few options they can explore to move him.

Chris LaFrance-USA TODAY Sports

When it was announced that Rene Bourque wasn't taking part in practice with the Montreal Canadiens on Monday morning, the writing was on the wall that even if he went unclaimed on waivers, his time with the Canadiens has come to a close. Since that time, Bourque has gone unclaimed, and now the Habs are free to send him down to the AHL's Hamilton Bulldogs if they choose to.

If the Canadiens choose to send him to the AHL, Bourque's $3.333M cap hit would be reduced to $2.408M, which isn't a huge chunk off, but Montreal has a fair amount of cap space anyway, so this isn't a cap move, it's more likely it's about clearing a contract off the NHL roster.

Marc Bergevin could also choose to wait, keeping Bourque up with the big club while pursuing a possible trade. It may seem unlikely that any team would trade for Bourque's contract, but the Canadiens can retain up to $1.667M of his cap hit this year and next, or up to $2.5M of his remaining $5M salary, or both.

Marc Antoine Godin of La Presse floated the idea that if the Canadiens are unable to find a suitor for Bourque that he would be sent to the AHL for the remainder of the season, and bought out in the summer. Should the Canadiens choose to do that, it would cost them $1.667M in the first year of the buyout, which is the same as the max retained cap hit, but they would also suffer $833K the following season, meaning an extra year of Bourque impacting their salary cap.

It's possible that a team could be convinced to take on Bourque without the Habs retaining the most that they can, but highly unlikely since the Habs have very little leverage here, they obviously want Bourque gone.