This one has us scratching our heads. On Thursday night, Pierre LeBrun reported on the latest edition of Insider Trading on TSN that the Montreal Canadiens are expected to let centre Phillip Danault to hit the open market on July 28.
While the door has not been closed on him re-signing in Montreal after that date, it sounds like the previous offer that was made by GM Marc Bergevin at the start of the season is not longer on the table.
“They made him an offer last off-season and it was rejected. My sense is that the Habs aren’t planning a new offer at this time. They’re going to let Danault go to free agency on July 28 but keep the door open for him to come back to them after he’s heard from other teams, but it’s a fluid situation.”
Danault was a key reason the Habs made it this far in the postseason, all the way to the Stanley Cup final, which they lost in five games to the Tampa Bay Lightning. He is coming off a terrific defensive performance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and could get interesting offers on the free market, there is no doubt about that.
Many fans expected the only Quebecois for the Canadiens who took part in the postseason to want to stay in Montreal. However, the Habs are projected to have just over $14 million in cap space this off-season, according to CapFriendly. They could have an additional $7.86 million to spend if Shea Weber lands on long-term injured reserve.
A lot will happen before the open market kicks off, with the expansion draft coming a week ahead of July 28th.
Danault has recorded 55 goals and 199 points in 392 games with the Canadiens and Chicago Blackhawks, who selected 26th overall back in 2011. He had a tough start to the shortened season as he endured a 24-game goal drought, but explained that his contract situation was a distraction.
Now, it is on everyone’s mind in Montreal.