The Canadiens front office will be front and centre, especially over the next two weeks, as they maneuver their way through the NHL’s amnesty buyout period, the NHL draft and the opening of the free agent signing period. They also have until the July 5th to act, one way or the other, on potential unrestricted free agents Michael Ryder, Colby Armstrong, Jeff Halpern and Petteri Nokelainen. The Canadiens have already informed Ryder that they will not be offering him a new contract.
Wednesday, June 26 11.00pm – Amnesty Buyout Period Begins– Scheduled to begin forty-eight hours after the Stanley Cup iwas awarded. . The Canadiens reportedly have already informed Tomas Kaberle of their intention to exercise their second amnesty buyout on his contract. (The Habs bought out Scott Gomez’ contract in January). The buyout window closes July 4th at 5.00pm ET. Amnestied players under the age of 26 receive one-third of their salaries from the team that signed them; players 26 and over receive two-thirds of their salaries. While taking 4.25 million off the salary cap, at 2/3rds of the remaining year of his contract, the Canadiens will pay Kaberle 1.25 million in actual cash in each of the next two years.
Sunday June -30th 3:00pm EDT -NHL Entry Draft – at New Jersey. In what is called one of the deepest draft talent pools ever, the Canadiens at this point have eight selections including six in the first three rounds. They have their own selection at 25th in the first round, then 34th (from Nashville), 36th (Calgary) and 55th in the second round plus third round 71st (Dallas) and 86th,. No 4th -to Islanders for Wisniewski or 5th to LA for Drewiske followed by their own picks in the 6th and 7th rounds, 176th and 206th. All seven rounds of the draft will be completed Sunday.
Monday July 3rd to 7th – Canadiens Rookie Development Camp – one week camp opens at Brossard Training Centre. Included will be Canadiens draft picks including those selected June 30th plus free agent players invited on tryout contracts. Around 50 players will be invited.
July 5th Opening of Free Agency - While general manager Marc Bergervin has stated that the Canadiens will be limited or non-participants in the free agent process, there are holes to fill and depending on talent available, free agency remains one of the options. If Bergevin elects to get involved, look for a bottom six left or right winger with some size and grit.
July 17th – 2013-2014 Schedule Release. The Canadiens will be playing in the new eight-team Central Division with Toronto, Ottawa, Boston, Detroit, Buffalo plus Florida and TampaBay.
August 15th – Signing Deadline For Graduating U.S. College Players - This date is important to the Canadiens because of Dustin Walsh who was drafted in the 6th round of the 2009 draft. The 6’3” 200 lbs. left winger completed his college career at Dartmouth in April. The Canadiens must sign him by August 15th or lose his playing rights. Walsh missed most of the 2011-2012 season after hip surgery. He came back to score 11 goals and 11 assists in 29 games this season.
September 8 (TBA) – Canadiens Open Training Camp – Brossard