Canadiens Update: Habs Extend Qualifying Offers to Six

Matt WoodmanCorrespondent IJune 25, 2008

The Montreal Canadiens have extended qualifying offers to forwards Mikhail Grabovski, Andrei Kostitsyn and Corey Locke, defencemen Josh Gorges and Ryan O'Byrne and goaltender Jaroslav Halak. Big surprise… But what will be the surprise is to see who will accept their qualifying offer.

Andrei Kostitsyn is expected to accept his deal which is believed to be around 4 years worth $3-$4 million a year. I think anything over $4 million AT THIS POINT in his career would be ridiculous as he has only played one full season.

I was surprised to learn Corey Locke was extended an offer although it will be interesting to see if he accepts it. Over the past three seasons he has failed to crack the line up out of training camp, and only has one NHL game under his belt. He is another small forward but I believe he does have the skill too make it…with another team.

At the moment the Canadiens line up is filled with centers, and if the Canadiens don’t find their big center there looking for he will have to battle the likes of Lapierre, Grabovski, and Chipchura for a spot on the Habs roster.

Mikhail Grabovski is another case. He made the team out of training camp but was later sent back to the minors during December. After tearing it up in the AHL for the Bulldogs, he later rejoined the team in February. In 24 games this past season he notched 3 goals and 6 assists with a plus/minus rating of -4. But if Mats Sundin does sign with the Canadiens forget about Grabovski making the team out of training camp as they’ll be looking to add a checking line center like Chipchura or Lapierre.

There’s been no word on the type of contracts offered to defencemen Josh Gorges and Ryan O’Byrne. But both made names for themselves with the team last year and I doubt very much we’ll seem them playing under different jerseys next season. 

Jaroslav Halak is an interesting situation. He has made it clear he would like to see more playing time next season. Many people were surprised to see Carey Price make the team ahead of Halak during training camp, and as a result he spent most of the year in the minors.

Halak only played in 6 NHL contest last season and a couple more during the playoffs compared to 16 regular season match ups in 2006-2007.  Sources believe his contract offer was very similar to Maxim Lapierre’s contract (a two year deal worth 700k the first season and 900k the second.) It shall be interesting to see if he does resign with the Canadiens. It’s been rumored he could play for a different team next season or head back to Europe. I’ll be keeping tabs on this guy.

Thanks for Reading

Matt Woodman