Three of the oldest players on the Montreal roster are on their way out.
Manny Malhotra, Mike Weaver and Sergei Gonchar — the Habs’ elder statesman this year, at 41 — won’t be brought back for next season, GM Marc Bergevin confirmed during Friday’s end-of-season presser.
The moves don’t come as a huge surprise, given all were pending UFAs and none played in the playoffs. Malhotra had the biggest role on the team during the regular season, appearing in 58 games, and Gonchar did provide some offense on the back end, racking up 13 points in 45 games.
Weaver, a renowned shot-blocker that played regularly in last year’s run to the Eastern Conference Final, was largely a spare part this season and appeared in just 31 games, one of the lowest totals of his career.
It’ll be interesting to see what each player does next. The 34-year-old Malhotra, the youngest of the three, said he wants to keep playing; Weaver, who just turned 37, has played for six different teams over the last 13 years and always seems to find somewhere to sign. Gonchar could very well be done.
Finally, it’s worth noting that over $7 million comes off the books with Gonchar, Weaver and Malhotra leaving town. Important, because the club has said that re-signing pending UFA d-man Jeff Petry is a priority, and Petry isn’t going to come cheap.
The Montreal Canadiens stayed busy after acquiring d-man Jeff Petry this morning, picking up forward Brian Flynn from Buffalo.
In exchange, the Sabres will receive a fifth-round pick at the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, per TSN.
Flynn, 26, has enjoyed a relatively successful campaign with the Sabres, scoring five goals and a career-high 17 points in 54 games played. A former University of Maine standout, Flynn has spent his entire professional career with the Buffalo organization, playing two years in AHL Rochester before becoming a full-time NHLer last season (in 79 games, he had six goals and 13 points).
In Montreal, Flynn — who’s in the last of a two-year, $1.275M deal with a $637,500 cap hit — will challenge for minutes at the center position. He played there regularly for the Sabres (was fourth on the team in faceoffs) and will now be in the mix for bottom-six minutes along with rookie Jacob De La Rose and Manny Malhotra.
The Montreal Canadiens say they aren’t panicking after Sunday’s blowout home loss to Calgary — but they are making a change.
Sophomore Michael Bournival will make his season debut tonight against Chicago, the club has announced, while TVA reports that KHL Club AK Bars Kazan has acquired the rights to rookie forward Jiri Sekac… who’s been a healthy scratch for the last six games.
Sekac, an undrafted free agent that signed with Montreal after good success in the KHL, was a lineup presence early in the season, getting a career-high 15:23 TOI against Philly on Oct. 11 before scoring his first NHL goal in a 6-4 win over Boston five nights later.
Bournival, who had a breakout rookie campaign last year by scoring seven goals and 14 points in 60 games, has also had a tough time cracking the lineup this season. He’s expected to play on the fourth line tonight with Brandon Prust and Manny Malhotra, which will likely send Travis Moen to the press box (where he’ll sit with Sekac).