Report: Danault to Test Free Agency | HEADLINES

Phillip Danault (Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)
Phillip Danault (Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

ROCKET SPORTS MEDIA | MONTREAL, QC. — The news of Shea Weber‘s medical situation and its ramifications for the team continued to send shockwaves through the Canadiens fanbase. But there were other news items that you should know about.

Habs protection list

Just a week ago, the Canadiens were intending to use the 8+1 formula to protect eight skaters plus a goaltender in the expansion draft. It was a priority for Marc Bergevin to protect the ‘four Clydesdales’: Shea Weber, Jeff Petry, Ben Chiarot and Joel Edmundson.

Following Shea Weber’s medical news received on Wednesday, Bergevin has reportedly changed his strategy to protect seven forwards, three defencemen and one goaltender (7+3+1.)

Expecting that the Canadiens may lose Jake Allen in the expansion draft to Seattle for no return, Bergevin continues to search for a trade for Allen (as reported in our Headlines post on July 14th.)

Teams will submit protection lists by Saturday July 17th. The lists will be announced the following day.

Danault to test free agency

The Canadiens will let pending unrestricted free agent Phillip Danault explore the free agent market according to TSN’s Pierre LeBrun. The Habs will not close the door to a return by Danault.

Danault had a difficult regular season both offensively and defensively. He also made his concerns known about his role and losing ice-time to Nick Suzuki and Jesperi Kotkaniemi.

Marc Bergevin may be hoping that Danault’s expectations are lowered to a more realistic level or the general manager may be thinking of other options for the centre position.

Servalli: Don’t rule out Eichel to Habs

Given the recent medical news of Shea Weber, Marc Bergevin may have more cap room available to him for the upcoming season.

As a result, Frank Servalli advises, “With the Montreal Canadiens potentially gaining $7.86 million in more salary cap flexibility dependent on Shea Weber’s injuries, do not rule out the Habs making a play for Sabres captain Jack Eichel.”

Jack Eichel is looking to leave Buffalo but the Sabres have set a very high asking price, likely four assets equivalent to first round picks. It was widely reported on Wednesday that the asking price is still high but has come down.

Eichel was selected second overall in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft just behind Connor McDavid.

Cooper praises Habs

In the handshake line following the end of the Stanley Cup Final, Lightning head coach Jon Cooper had kind words for the Canadiens players his team had just defeated.

Cooper said “You’ve got a bright future” to Cole Caufield, Alexander Romanov and Nick Suzuki. Cooper told Brendan Gallagher that he is “a warrior.” And to Carey Price, Cooper said, “I ache for you buddy,” knowing that Price had done all he could to give his team a chance to win.

Habs sign Belzile

The Montreal Canadiens signed forward Alex Belzile to a one-year, two-way contract for the upcoming season. Belzile played just 17 games for the Laval Rocket in 2020-21 with four goals and 10 assists.

The Saint-Eloi, QC native is a veteran of two games in the NHL, 256 games in the AHL and 168 games in the ECHL.

Rocket player arrested for DUI

On July 4th the Laval Rocket finalized a one-year, two-way contract with Charles-David Beaudoin, as one of 11 Quebec-born players newly-signed to the team so far. Beaudoin most recently played in Austria and hasn’t played a full season in the AHL since 2018-19 season.

On Wednesday July 14, Beaudoin appeared in a Drummondville courthouse to register a not-guilty plea for charges of impaired driving. On May 14th, Beaudoin was charged for driving a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol level above the legal limit of .08 according to QMI Agency.

A Canadiens communication manager was surprised at the news when asked for comment by TVA Sports.

Canadiens Connection podcast

Current Habs topics were discussed on this week’s episode of the Canadiens Connection. Listen, share and subscribe!

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