Depth Players Montreal Canadiens Should Chase in Free Agency
The Montreal Canadiens' offseason is under way, and general manager Marc Bergevin is busy filling out the depth chart.
He made his first signing on June 17 by re-signing winger Dale Weise to a two-year contact. Terms of the deal were not released, but CapGeek.com reports it to be worth an unconfirmed $1 million per season.
The Weise signing means that Bergevin has filled one hole on his depth chart, but there is still plenty more work to be done. The GM is likely weighing his options with both Brian Gionta and Mike Weaver before July 1, but even if he does sign them, he will still need to plug a few roster spots via free agency.
In addition to a scoring winger, the Habs could use a few more depth players, both up front and on defense, to round out the roster.
Here are some depth players, not including Gionta and Weaver, who the Montreal Canadiens should chase in free agency.
The 29-year-old was a 30-goal scorer back in 2008-09 with the Florida Panthers, but he saw his numbers dwindle following a concussion in 2009-10. Last season, Booth had just 19 points (9 G, 10 A) in 66 games with Vancouver.
Booth is clearly not the top-line forward he once was, but he remains an interesting free agent simply he has the talent to put the puck in the net. Perhaps a change of scenery will help rejuvenate what once was a promising career.
He was to be owed $4.75 million in 2014-15 and will now receive considerably less than that on the open market. If the market for Booth drops to about half of what he was to be owed, he would make for an interesting gamble. There just aren't many players in the $2-3 million range who have scored 30 goals at some point in their career.
Booth is a left winger, a position where Montreal currently has Max Pacioretty, Alex Galchenyuk, Rene Bourque, Brandon Prust, Travis Moen and Michael Bournival. At first glance, it seems crowded.
Galchenyuk, however, could move to center, while Bourque, even with his decent playoffs, is always a candidate to be shipped out of town. Prust and Bournival could both slide to center if needed, while Moen is a fourth-line player.
Although Montreal has a few in-house options on left wing, Booth could be an upgrade on the third line. Or Bergevin might feel that he's simply worth the gamble at the right price.
Although he is 37 years old, Stephane Robidas would be a nice depth signing for the Montreal Canadiens blue line.
Robidas played in just 38 games in 2013-14 with the Anaheim Ducks and Dallas Stars, due to fracturing his right leg on two seperate occasions last season. The second fracture happened in Round 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Considering his age and concerns over his leg, the market for Robidas is likely to be less than the $3.3 million cap hit he had in 2013-14, meaning he could be a deal for the team that takes a chance on him.
Robidas, at a price of around $2.5 million, would be a nice addition to the Montreal blue line. He is a right-side defenseman, a position where Montreal currently has just Alexei Emelin and (most likely) P.K. Subban.
He would bring veteran leadership to a team that is looking to develop young defensemen like Nathan Beaulieu, Jarred Tinordi and Greg Pateryn, as well as Subban to a certain extent. He could also fill in on the right side of the second power-play unit, a role that Emelin simply hasn't been very good at.
The Canadiens need to sign a couple of depth defensemen this summer, and Robidas could be a bargain if he can recuperate from his leg injury.
A lot of Montreal fans will shudder at the very thought of the Canadiens signing a former Maple Leaf, but Mason Raymond is a solid hockey player who could fit in quite nicely with the Habs.
Raymond, still relatively young at 28 years old, plays the kind of game that Montreal fans will appreciate. He works hard in the corners and can put the puck in the net when needed. He scored 19 goals and had 45 points last season.
He also gets back on defense and is solid in his own end. His only season as a minus player came last year with the lowly Leafs, as he finished minus-seven. He also kills penalties, which is always a bonus for coaches.
But the best part about Raymond might be his value: His 2013-14 salary was just $1 million.
His 19-goal performance last season will certainly command a raise on the open market, but Raymond would still be a deal at double or triple his salary last season.
Raymond is a solid hockey player who would be a great addition to the Canadiens in 2014-15. Bergevin should give him a hard look this summer.
The Montreal Canadiens are always looking to become a more physical team, and signing Tanner Glass would instantly make them tougher.
The 30-year-old winger led the Pittsburgh Penguins in penalty minutes with 90 in 67 games played. For his career, he has 458 PIMs in just 377 games.
But he is not another George Parros and offers far more to his team than just fighting. Glass is an agitator who can play a regular fourth-line shift. He's also a solid penalty-killer and finished third in short-handed time on ice last season among Pittsburgh forwards.
Glass is able to play on either wing and would therefore bring both versatility and size (6'1", 210 pounds) to the Montreal lineup.
Bergevin might consider Glass if he's looking for a rugged depth winger this summer.
The Montreal Canadiens currently have just Weise and Brendan Gallagher signed to play right wing. Devin Setoguchi could be a nice addition to the depth chart.
The 27-year-old probably won't light up the scoresheet—he had just 27 points (11 goals and 16 assists) in 75 games with the Winnipeg Jets last season. But, like Booth, he does have the talent to put the puck in the net, as evidenced by his 31-goal season back in 2008-09.
By signing Setoguchi, the Canadiens wouldn't be looking for him to score 30 goals. They'd be happy with 12-15 and any more than that would be a bonus. But the veteran winger would bring size at 6'0", 205 pounds and the kind of game that would fit in perfectly on Montreal's third line—at the right price, of course.
Setoguchi had a cap hit of $3 million last season. Considering his lack of offensive output over the past couple seasons, it's doubtful he'll command much more than that this summer.
If Bergevin was able to sign Setoguchi for around $2.5 million, it could be a solid depth signing and one worth considering.
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