The Canadiens have re-signed one of their pending restricted free agents, announcing the re-signing of winger Artturi Lehkonen to a one-year, $2.3MM contract. He was eligible to file for salary arbitration on Sunday.
The 26-year-old has spent his entire five-year NHL career with Montreal who selected him in the second round (55th overall) back in 2013. He recorded 18 goals in his rookie campaign but hasn’t been able to duplicate that mark and was only able to tally seven goals and six assists in 47 games last season while spending some time as a healthy scratch. That continued at the start of the playoffs although he managed to get into 17 contests where he added three goals and an assist with one of those tallies being the overtime winner to send the Canadiens to the Stanley Cup Final.
The deal actually represents a lower AAV for Lehkonen whose previous cap hit was $2.4MM. However, it’s still a small boost on his $2.2MM qualifying offer which was also his salary in 2020-21. Lehkonen will still be eligible for restricted free agency next summer and while he has shown himself to be a capable checker, he’ll need a bounce-back season offensively to have a shot at cashing in with a bigger deal next summer.
Montreal now has just one NHL restricted free agent remaining in Jesperi Kotkaniemi who is coming off his entry-level contract and isn’t eligible for salary arbitration. They currently sit roughly $2.3MM over the salary cap, per CapFriendly, but with Shea Weber out for the season and Paul Byron out for the start of the year after hip surgery yesterday, they’ll be able to get back in compliance by placing them on LTIR.