April 9, 2019 | 4:31pm ET
CANADIENS WON’T RE-SIGN NIEMI
Antti Niemi, goalie
The Montreal Canadiens are already implementing their off-season plan, as goaltender Antti Niemi appears to be the first casualty of change.
In speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin revealed that Niemi has been informed he will not be brought back next season.
Niemi, 35, has spent the last season and a half with the Canadiens and made $950,000 this season. He will become an unrestricted free agent July 1.
Bergevin is expected to be active this summer, both on the trade front and in free agency, and has plenty of salary cap space to play with.
Most of the Canadiens players, in speaking with the media, believe they will be a playoff team next season and any additions this summer will help them in their hunt for the playoffs.
“Nothing comes to my mind why unrestricted free agents wouldn’t come here,” said Habs forward Tomas Tatar, in somewhat of a sales pitch to pending UFAs.
The Canadiens are likely to be in the market for a top-six scorer and a left-shot defenceman and will scour both the trade and free agent market for options.
With Niemi not returning, 25-year-old netminder Charlie Lindgren may stay with the club as the team’s full-time backup next season.