The Montreal Canadiens announced that defenseman Karl Alzner has chosen to opt out of the Return to Play Plan and will sit out both Phases 3 & 4. The decision isn’t a big surprise, considering that he wasn’t likely to receive much, if any playing time and has young children at home.
Alzner has been quite a disappointment since general manager Marc Bergevin signed the veteran defenseman to a five-year, $23.1MM deal back in 2017. He struggled in his first year with the Canadiens and since then has appeared in just 13 games with the team mostly keeping his contract buried in the AHL. He played 53 games with the Laval Rocket this year, compared to just four NHL games.
- Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said that he will speak to all of his upcoming restricted and unrestricted free agents throughout the Return to Play and said that if signing someone to an extension makes sense, he will do that, according to Matt Porter of the Boston Globe. The team has a number of unrestricted free agents, including Torey Krug, Zdeno Chara, Kevan Miller and Joakim Nordstrom as well as a few key RFA’s, including Jake Debrusk, Anders Bjork, Zachary Senyshyn, Karson Kuhlman, Matt Grzelcyk, Jakub Zboril and Dan Vladar. NBC Sports’ Joe Haggerty adds that Sweeney said he was not going to be aggressive about potential re-signings. While a Krug signing would seem unlikely, especially with the league planning to stick to a $81.5MM flat cap next season, the team may be forced to let some of those players go unless they can get some players to take lesser contracts.
- With the Toronto Maple Leafs’ training camp roster released, there were few surprises on their list, although The Athletic’s Scott Wheeler noted the absence of forward Nic Petan. The 25-year-old did spend more time with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies, but still played 16 games with the Maple Leafs and was having a solid offensive year with the Marlies (10 goals, 31 points in 25 games). NHL.com’s Mike Zeisberger also points out that with a six-month timeline for his knee injury, the team will not see forward Andreas Johnsson during the Return to Play until possibly the second round.
- Perhaps the biggest surprise on the roster for the Tampa Bay Lightning was defenseman Cal Foote. The 21-year-old wrapped up his second pro season with the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL. The Athletic’s Joe Smith (subscription required) writes that while there is no guarantee that Foote will see any playing time, but with the Lightning’s cap situation for next season, there is a strong chance he makes the team for the 2020-21 season and could use the practice time as a learning experience.