It’s been a rough go for Karl Alzner over the past couple of years, having to watch his former squad in Washington — a city where he spent the first nine years of his career — win its first championship the season after he left for Montreal in free agency.
And since inking that five-year, $23.1-million contract with the Habs in July of 2017, the sting of seeing his old mates lift the Cup without him has been compounded by a mostly disastrous personal on-ice stretch.
Alzner’s tumultuous couple of years with the Canadiens culminated with a demotion to Montreal’s AHL affiliate in Laval last January after suiting up for just nine games and consequently being placed on waivers for the purpose of being sent down.
Alzner recently told TVA’s Louis-André Larivière — after a summer of training with Canadiens teammates Carey Price and Shea Weber — that he feels ready to be an NHL regular again, hopefully in Montreal.
"I do not want to waste time because there are not many years left in my playing career. I want to take advantage of the ones I have left,” Alzner said in a translated quote, via TVA.
For the 30-year-old to get the most out of his fleeting years, he’ll have to get back to playing at a level that justifies his $4.6-million cap hit — one he hasn’t been able to, at least in the eyes of Montreal’s brass, live up to for the better part of his two seasons with the Canadiens.
Alzner also claimed that he didn’t formally request a trade out of Montreal last season, but hinted that he will likely do so if he is sent back to the AHL coming out of training camp this September.
“I would prefer to play at the highest level. Even though I enjoyed my time in Laval, I do not want a team to use me as a mentor. I want to be led and win,” Alzner said.
"If I do not have a job in Montreal, it will be elsewhere."
The fact that a competitor like Alzner, who by all accounts has handled this tough situation as graciously as one could expect, is looking to to get back to playing regularly at the NHL level isn’t surprising, but he knows more than anyone that factors like his current cap hit and term will pose some obstacles in another club acquiring him.
"I realize that my contract is hard to absorb for an organization. Most teams are near the ceiling. This is the disadvantageous part, but I want to find myself with a team where I feel desired,” he said.
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