Montreal Canadiens Free Agent Signings: Matt Taormina

TORONTO, ON - MAY 15: Matt Taormina
TORONTO, ON - MAY 15: Matt Taormina /

The Montreal Canadiens went back to the blue-line on July 1st by signing Matt Taormina to a two-year $1.3 million contract.

It looked like the goal for the Montreal Canadiens after signing Karl Alzner, was to continue to add to the Laval Rocket. This started with bringing on centres Byron Froese and Peter Holland, and appeared to continue with Matt Taormina.

The 30-year old left-shot defenceman is definitely one of the more seasoned additions so far. Taormina went pro in 2008 after playing four years with Providence College. For the next eight years, Taormina jumped between AHL teams with a total of 260 points in 439 games.

Despite spending most of his time in the minors, Taormina has played some games in the NHL. He made his NHL debut in the 2010-2011 season with the New Jersey Devils. The stint only lasted 17 games where Taormina put up three goals and two assists. After the following season, where he played 30 games for the Devils, Taormina never saw more than seven games.

Taormina is a mobile, puck-handling defenceman that excels in offence. The Warren-native had 15 goals and 45 assists in 70 games with the Syracuse Crunch this season. Additionally, he led all defencemen in playoff points with 20 points in 22 games. Taormina was also recognized by the league for his performance this season being named to the AHL All-Star Team, and winning the Eddie Shore Award which goes to the league’s best blue-liner.

You’d think with the offensive skill he’s demonstrated, that he would have more NHL experience. Unfortunately, Taormina has two knocks to his game. Firstly, he is undersized standing at five-foot-ten and 183 pounds. Secondly, and probably the most important, Taormina is very poor away from the puck.

Taormina receives an $100,000 increase from his previous contract with Tampa Bay, but will only make that $650,000 if he’s in the NHL since his deal is two-way. This is another solid move to improve a Laval Rocket team and make a run at the Calder next season. On the bright side, Taormina will have a familiar face in Byron Froese who was on Syracuse this past season and who will most likely join him on Laval.

Next: Free Agent Signings: Peter Holland

What do you made of the Taormina signing? Will he ever see time with the Montreal Canadiens next season? Can he continue his high-end offensive production from this past season? Let us know what you think in the comment section below!