The Montreal Canadiens have signed newly-acquired defender Joel Edmundson to a four-year contract extension worth $14 million. The deal carries an annual cap hit of $3.5 million. The Canadiens recently traded a fifth-round pick to the Carolina Hurricanes for the rights to Edmundson whose contract was set to expire.
The Canadiens surprised the entire hockey world during the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs when they not only eliminated the Pittsburgh Penguins in the qualifying round, but also competed hard against the No. 1 seeded Philadelphia Flyers and at times looked like they could come out on top in the series.
The 27-year-old Edmundson has played on some very good defenses in his career between the St. Louis Blues and the Hurricanes, though the later stop lasted only one season.
In 337 games, Edmundson has scored 20 goals and 72 points. He’s averaged 18:15 of ice time in his career, but would see a significant uptick in his usage during the postseason. In four games with the Hurricanes this postseason, Edmundson would see his average ice-time jump from 18:27 for the 2019-20 season to 23:41.
For the Canadiens, acquiring Edmundson’s rights for a fifth-round pick and getting a defender who can eat minutes isn’t a bad deal. A $3.5 million-per-year contract also isn’t outrageous for a player who could play a fairly significant role for the Canadiens.
Though Edmundson may not be the most exciting player to add to a team, he could find himself playing in a prominent role for a Canadiens’ team that has cap space to spend and holes to fill.
It’s unclear what the Canadiens will look like on opening night next season given the rumors that have circulated about players like Max Domi and Phillip Danault who could be on the trade block this offseason for one reason or another. The team may have taken strides since the season paused to when play resumed, but that doesn’t mean the Canadiens can simply rest on their laurels and sit idly by this offseason.
Acquiring Edmundson was a low-risk move that doesn’t carry much downside if things don’t work out. If they do, then general manager Bergevin made a calculated risk that could pay off in spades. The upside seems to outweigh the downside here, especially given the fact that the team has been sitting on cap space for the last few seasons.
Edmundson will likely fill a top-four spot for the Canadiens and could even find himself playing top-pairing minutes next season.
Familiar Face in Montreal for Edmundson
The Canadiens would also acquire Edmundsons’ former and now current-teammate in Jake Allen this offseason. The veteran netminder spent time in Montreal during his days in the QMJHL and his familiarity with the city will be a welcome one. Having him on the team bodes well for Edmundson’s ability to fit in nicely, especially given the fact that this will be his second new-team in as many years.
Allen was acquired to serve as a reliable backup goalie for Carey Price who could certainly benefit from resting more throughout the regular season so he can be fresh for postseason play. Allen’s deal is set to expire at the end of the 2020-21 season.
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Brandon Share-Cohen has covered the NHL and various professional sports for six years. Working with The Hockey Writers, Brandon works extensively on covering the Boston Bruins in addition to his role as the News Team Lead.