Notice how Sopel's being beaten to the outside in this picture? Well, that happened quite a bit in his time with the Canadiens.
The Habs gave up on Ben Maxwell for this guy, and to this day, I can't understand why.
I understand that with the injury to Josh Gorges, the organization believed it would be prudent to acquire a shot blocking defenseman. The fact that he has Stanley Cup winning experience also likely made him more attractive.
If you look at the situation more closely however, you may come to the conclusion that it was a useless acquisition.
Firstly, the team had already acquired Paul Mara. Mara was slightly quicker, played with a physical edge, and was more comfortable with the puck on his stick. Prior to the arrival of Sopel, Mara was playing regularly and quite well to boot.
Secondly, Sopel is not an adequate replacement for Josh Gorges. The reason Gorges worked so well with Gill the year before was that they complemented each other. Gorges' skating ability made up for Gill's lack of mobility.
With Gill playing next to Subban this year, however, Sopel was forced to play with Jaroslav Spacek, who is also lacking in mobility. The pairing was doomed to fail from the start.
Finally, how much Stanley Cup experience did he really have with Chicago last year? Keith and Seabrook were playing nearly 30 minutes a night. Campbell and Hjalmarsson were playing well over 20 minutes. How much ice time did that leave for Sopel, and how effective could he really have been?
Sopel is slow footed, has a poor first pass and isn't overtly physical.
Josh Gorges will likely be resigned by the team, allowing Gauthier to let Sopel walk this summer.