The Montreal Canadiens did not take long to replace Josh Gorges after dealing him to the Buffalo Sabres, as they signed Tom Gilbert, formerly of the Florida Panthers.
Gilbert will earn 2.8 million dollars for each of the next two seasons, saving the Habs 1.1 million dollars on the cap, after trading Gorges 3.9 million dollar cap hit.
Gilbert is a right handed shot who was actually bought out by the Minnesota Wild just one year ago.
Gilbert is a good puck moving defenseman, and will be able to help out on the second wave of the Habs power play, but will not be replacing Gorges on the penalty kill. He scored 28 points in 73 games with the Florida Panthers this past season, bouncing back from his buyout from the Wild. He will be a solid second pairing defenseman for the Habs, and will slot in behind P.K. Subban on the right side.
Gilbert has scored 204 points in 520 career NHL games with the Panther, Wild and Edmonton Oilers. He adds a bit more offense to a blue line that was forced to use Francis Bouillon. Alexei Emelin and Josh Gorges on the second power play a year ago.
Gilbert may not be as flashy as some of the other defenders on the market, but his two year term and cap hit of less than 3 million dollars, make him a low risk signing who could be a solid second pairing defenseman for the Canadiens.
The Canadiens have been one of the busiest teams in the early hours of free agency, and are likely not done yet. They still have some cap space to play with, and there are many great players still on the open market. Clearly general manager Marc Bergevin is intent on improving his club.