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Montreal Canadiens extend qualifying offers to four players

Six players, including Zach Fucale and Daniel Carr, can now become free agents July 1.

Detroit Red Wings v Montreal Canadiens Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

The Montreal Canadiens announced that they have extended qualifying offers to restricted free agents Phillip Danault, Jacob de la Rose, Michael McCarron, and Kerby Rychel.

Daniel Carr, Markus Eisenschmid, Zachary Fucale, Jeremy Grégoire, Tom Parisi, and Logan Shaw did not receive qualifying offers, most likely ending their association with the Montreal Canadiens. However, they can still negotiate with the team, so it doesn’t necessarily mean the end.

Carr, Fucale, Grégoire, Parisi, and Shaw become unrestricted free-agents on July 1. Eisenschmid has already signed with a team in Germany.

Daniel Carr completed his second two-year contract with the Canadiens, and one year removed from unrestricted free agency is probably hoping for some stability after bouncing between the AHL and the NHL for three seasons. Hardly a world-beater, Carr has shown plenty of tenacious play that made him a favourite fourth-liner of fans, but he struggled nonetheless to earn the full trust of the organization.

Phillip Danault is obviously the biggest name on this list, and at the age of 25, he will be looking for a payday that includes the purchase of some of his unrestricted free agency years. There is no rush to complete negotiations until the season begins, but the qualifying offer is a necessary step to allow that mechanism the time required to come to a deal. As the qualifying offer is just a one-year contract, obviously its terms are merely a starting point. Danault missed 30 games last season after getting struck in the head by a Zdeno Chara slapshop in a scary incident.

After completing his entry-level contract, Jacob de la Rose signed a one-year ‘show me’ contract for last season, and put together what ended up being his best NHL season to date, but also the first time he spend the whole year with the Canadiens without an AHL assignment. De la Rose seems to be slotting comfortably into a fourth-line centre role with the Canadiens, but will face competition at training camp from Byron Froese, McCarron, Jake Evans, and Lukas Vejdemo.

Markus Eisenschmid, at 23years of age, has decided to return to his native Germany to play for Adler Mannheim after three years in the Canadiens organization. He struggled to stay healthy, missing significant time each year due to injury. Last season he scored six goals and added 10 assists for the Laval Rocket.

Zachary Fucale is completing his entry-level contract which was originally signed in September, 2013, which slid twice — in his 18- and 19-year-old seasons — while he completed his junior career. A two-time goaltender for the Canadian World Junior team, Fucale entered the organization will plenty of hype, but struggled at the AHL level, and found himself falling down the goaltender depth chart behind Charlie Lindgren and Michael McNiven. Fucale’s fate was pretty well sealed when the Laval Rocket signed Étienne Marcoux to an AHL contract for the 2018-19 season, leaving no room.

Jeremy Grégoire doubled his point production last season over his previous best campaign, scoring 12 goals and adding 13 assists, but he still never reached the offensive totals he had in junior. With increased responsibilities this season, Grégoire showed growth in his game, but continued to take copious penalties, both major and minor. He played with tons of heart and always gave his full commitment.

Michael McCarron has been underwhelming so far in his professional career, showing steady regression in the span of his three-year entry-level contract. After getting 17 goals in his first AHL season, McCarron has scored only seven goals in each of his last two seasons. It’s certainly concerning that a first-round pick is not developing as hoped, but Bergevin certainly was not ready to give up on the 23-year-old, or at the very least not ready to simply lose the asset without getting some sort of return.

Tom Parisi was signed out of the NCAA upon graduation as an unsigned free agent, and one of the top defencemen in his category. Unfortunately, things did not go well as he found himself a frequent scratch in his first season. This past season he excelled when given the opportunity as one of the few healthy puck-moving defencemen in Laval, but it wasn’t enough to convince Marc Bergevin that he has NHL potential.

Kerby Rychel was obtained in a trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs for Tomas Plekanec, and fit right in with the Rocket, putting up 12 points in 16 games with his new team. He even received a short four-game tryout with the Canadiens at the end of the season, doing well enough, but having it cut short by an injury. With Rychel, the issue is that he is a very strong AHL player, but at the conclusion of his entry-level contract there is little evidence that he can convert his AHL game to the NHL.

Logan Shaw completed his third NHL contract, with the last two only covering a single season. A defensive-minded forward, he has shown little offence to his game and has bounced around from team to team and level to level for several years. He was claimed off waivers in January as a stopgap solution when a panoply of injuries decimated the lineup.

Rinat Valiev would have been a restricted free agent headed into the off-season, but he re-signed with the Canadiens on May 31, accepting a salary decrease rather than waiting for a decision.