The Montreal Canadiens were working on a deal for newly acquired defenseman Joel Edmundson and it didn’t take long to dot the I’s and cross the T’s as the blueliner is now officially a Canadiens defenseman. He signed a four-year contract extension worth $14 million on Wednesday with the club.
The deal carries an annual cap hit of $3.5 million and the contract includes a 10-team no-trade clause.
The Canadiens recently traded a fifth-round pick to the Carolina Hurricanes for the rights to negotiate with Edmundson. At the time, it was seen as a bit of a gamble considering the club had no previous conversations with the player and he could have walked into free agency. In the end, (the terms can be debated) it was a gamble that paid off.
The $3.5 million doesn’t seem like an unreasonable amount consider how much it is expected the Canadiens will use him. In fact, some are calling the deal a steal. TSN’s Gord Miller speculated he’d get $5.5 to $6 million on the open market as a free agent.
In 337 career NHL games, Edmundson has scored 20 goals and 72 points. There are varied takes on his impact in terms of the eye test versus analytics, but he’s averaged 18:15 of ice time per game throughout his career and played quite well for the Hurricanes in the 2019-20 postseason as Carolina defeated the New York Rangers to advance past the play-in rounds. During his run in the playoffs, his time on ice jumped to 23:41.
What’s Next for the Canadiens
The deal might bring with it speculation that another defender could be moved out by GM Marc Bergevin. The Canadiens have just over $10 million in projected cap space based on a roster of 19 (10F-7D-2G) players.
They have some notable RFA’s who need contracts: forwards Max Domi and Charles Hudon, plus defensemen Victor Mete and Xavier Ouellet. Whether or not the Canadiens elect to sign these players or move them is a topic of discussion lately around Montreal.
What could be very interesting to see is what happens on the Canadiens blue line now. Some are speculating that this signing means Ben Chiarot is gone.
Chiarot’s value is as high as ever and Edmundson could replace what he brought to the team, making almost exactly the same money, just over a longer period of time.
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