Was there really any doubt in anyone’s mind that Jordan Weal would sign a contract extension with the Montreal Canadiens? An obvious favourite of head coach Claude Julien, Weal managed four goals, six assists good for 10 points in only 16 games for the Bleu-Blanc-Rouge since being acquired from the Arizona Coyotes for Michael Chaput. At that time, Weal had 11 points in 47 games with the desert dogs.
The 27 year-old centre is not the first Coyote to leave the Coyotes and find a home in Montreal as we all know Max Domi‘s story since leaving that organization. And like Domi, Weal seized his opportunity with the Canadiens. With a 55.1% success rate, he provides Julien’s team with a much needed right-handed centre who can alleviate the workload of Phillip Danault in the defensive zone, while being a surprisingly good fit on offense too.
The North Vancouver, BC native was rewarded with a two-year one-way deal with the Canadiens with a cap hit of $1.4 million. The news comes just one day after the team announced the signing of another trade deadline acquisition and pending UFA, Nate Thompson, to a one-year one-way contract worth an even $1 million.
“I was really just chomping at the bit to come back. It’s one of those groups where it’s not hard to jump in and to have fun with the guys right away. The core group that they have – the older guys, the younger guys – it’s just one of those special groups that you just want to be a part of.
I’m just so excited to come back because of where our team is headed,” said Thompson. “Everyone on the team, and you could feel it throughout the room, that guys were disappointed. More importantly, though, guys are mad, guys are angry, guys already want to get going and already start the season now because you could feel the hunger from everyone, including myself. We want to get back to work, we want to have a big season, and we want to build off of what we did last year. We want to continue to get better and make the playoffs.”
Marc Bergevin will have his work cut out this summer as he MUST finally fill the hole on left side of his defense on the Top-4. The right side is solid with Shea Weber, Jeff Petry, Christian Folin, Noah Juulsen and Josh Brook but the left side has been the team’s weak point since the departure of Andrei Markov. It will be an interesting summer, folks! Go Habs Go!
As a NHL General Manager, sometimes you complete trades that work out for your team, sometimes they don’t. In all cases, the price paid to acquired those new acquisitions is key to determine if it was a good trade or if it wasn’t, how much you’ve lost in the deal. No, that doesn’t apply only to Marc Bergevin and the Montreal Canadiens as every team in the league goes through those assessments and every GM has good deals and not so good ones.
We’ve discussed how disappointing it was to see Bergevin fail to address the team’s biggest needs so let’s not rehash on that. But it’s not like he didn’t complete any deals. He did revamp his bottom-six and added a depth defenseman and those deals seem to be paying off… for the time being.
Here are the trades completed by the Canadiens’ GM leading up to the February 25th trade deadline:
As you can see, Bergevin traded three players who had been sent to the Laval Rockets in the AHL and has added four players to his NHL roster. For the sake of this exercise, we won’t get into what the players shipped out are doing with their new team as that’s not the purpose. The goal is to see if Bergevin has improved his team with the players used by head coach Claude Julien over the players he decided to sit in the pressbox. So here’s the breakdown:
1 year – $2.35M
1 year – $1.3M
1 year – $950,000
As we can see, it looks like the trades have panned out so far. Further, Weal (56.4%) and Thompson (55.5%) have helped take some pressure off Phillip Danault (54.7%) in the faceoffs’ circles, particularly in the defensive zone. All things considered, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Bergevin offer contracts to both Weal and Thompson for sure, perhaps even Folin by season’s end.
In order to do that, the team will have to unload some of the NHL contracts for next season, unless Geoff Molson want to have the biggest payroll in the AHL, which already includes Karl Alzner. And Bergevin hasn’t addressed the team’s biggest needs for a left-handed Top-4 defenseman and some help for the powerplay. It will be a busy summer for Canadiens’ GM but then again… when hasn’t he been busy since taking over? Go Habs Go!