Monday, June 27, 2011
Pyatt, Pouliot Not Qualified - Will be UFAs
As we broke on Twitter earlier this afternoon, the Montreal Canadiens did not extend qualifying offers to Benoit Pouliot or Tom Pyatt, meaning they will become unrestricted free agents this Friday (July 1st). This does not stop general manager Pierre Gauthier from offering them contracts at a lesser amount come that day (though you can't get much lower than Pyatt's earnings last year).
While Pouliot at $1,350,000 may not be a bargain, it is never a good day to see an asset completely wasted. Guillaume Latendresse, if healthy this season, will be a contributing member of the Minnesota Wild, while the Habs will have absolutely nothing to show in return. As frustrating as Pouliot's inconsistencies can be, a 24 year old 6'3" winger with 28 goals in 118 games in Montreal is an odd player to simply give up on, but clearly he was no longer in the plans in this city, with the team preferring to retain 34-year old Mathieu Darche at half the price.
Pyatt's lack of offer is a little more surprising given that he made just $500,000 last season. A defensive fourth line forward who can kill penalties effectively, the fact is Pyatt is quite replaceable, and players of his style are not particularly expensive to obtain on the free agent market. It is possible that Pyatt is offered a contract later in the summer, but the good news for Habs fans is this may signify Gauthier looking to replace him with a bigger, more physical body. Certainly, however, this move does little to reassure fans of the Scott Gomez trade 2 years ago, with the cap sore center the last remaining asset the Canadiens got in the deal, while Ryan McDonagh and Pavel Valentenko remain with the Rangers.
As predicted, Alexandre Picard also did not receive an offer, and will not be returning to the club next season.
RFAs Josh Gorges, Yannick Weber, and Ryan White received offers, allowing the team to retain their rights and to continue to negotiate new deals.
Playing in Hamilton last year, all of Mathieu Carle, Ryan Russell, Frederic St. Denis, and Kyle Klubertanz also received offers. Klubertanz is already signed in Europe for the upcoming campaign, while it is unclear which of the others may choose to follow suit.