When the Canadiens cleaned out their lockers Saturday in Brossard, it marked the last time some of the players will set foot in the dressing room. While the bulk of the team is signed for next season, general manager Marc Bergevin has decisions to make on a number of restricted and unrestricted free agents. But the first order of business will be dealing with a player who is signed for next season. Defenceman Tomas Kaberle has one year remaining on a contract the Canadiens acquired from the Carolina Hurricanes. Bergevin is expected to save $4.25 million in cap space by using his second amnesty buyout on Kaberle. He used the first one before this season started on Scott Gomez. Kaberle, who appeared in only 10 games this season, was shut down in early March when the Canadiens decided to start looking at their young defencemen. The Czech played the good soldier throughout, working hard in practice. “I’m a professional,” Kaberle said Saturday. “I had to stay if they needed me.” Yannick Weber, who will be a restricted free agent in July, went through a similar experience, appearing in only six games. He had an opening when the Canadiens decided to leave Kaberle on the sidelines, but was injured in Carolina on March 7. “It was a frustrating year,” Weber said. “We had a lot of defencemen and they mostly stayed healthy. When I got my chance, I got hurt.” Weber said he was encouraged by his exit meeting with Bergevin, but there are no guarantees he will return to Montreal. “He told me I was an NHL defenceman and they would see whether there was a spot for me here and, if not, he said he would help me,” Weber said. The help would come in the form of a trade. Weber’s frustrating season ended on the weekend when he discovered there was no room for him on the Swiss team playing at the world championship. There was one spot remaining and it went to teammate Raphael Diaz.
Canadiens free agents: Who stays and who goes?
Montreal Gazette | May 12