Montreal Canadiens: Matthew Peca is the most intriguing offseason signing

CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 22: Tampa Bay Lightning center Matthew Peca (63) warms up prior to a game between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Tampa Bay Lightning on January 22, 2018, at the United Center in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Patrick Gorski/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 22: Tampa Bay Lightning center Matthew Peca (63) warms up prior to a game between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Tampa Bay Lightning on January 22, 2018, at the United Center in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Patrick Gorski/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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Of all the signings the Montreal Canadiens had on July 1st, Matthew Peca seems to have caught the interest of the fanbase the most.

The Montreal Canadiens were active on Free Agent Frenzy, but not many of the signings moved the needle. Re-signing Tomas Plekanec was far from being a surprise as the veteran made it clear that he intended on returning to Montreal in the offseason.

Xavier Ouellet was in the same camp. His connections to Habs management via Dominique Ducharme and Jöel Bouchard made a signing a very likely possibility. Matthew Peca, on the other hand, was a newish name that hadn’t been linked to the team as much.

Peca’s contributions in the AHL are well-known. He’s a player that makes use of his speed and vision to create and continue plays. His style fits the type of build Marc Bergevin hinted at towards the end of the season, and the fact that he expects him to be on the team out of camp had members of the fanbase to conjure up their own expectations.

It’ll be a battle between Peca and Jacob de La Rose for the fourth line centre spot. He fit in well on Tampa Bay’s third line with Alex Killorn and Yanni Gourde and could have the opportunity to play with some skill on the Montreal Canadiens. Charles Hudon is a candidate as well as Joel Armia. There’s also the chance Peca lines up with Nikita Scherbak if both push through and makes the team.

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The 25-year-old also saw time on the penalty kill which would serve well on the Habs. Adding scoring threats shorthanded has been the latest movement in the league. Paul Byron has been an answer there for the Montreal Canadiens as his incredible acceleration allows him to break free and head down the ice for a scoring chance.

The latest trade acquisitions are one thing, but the fans are looking forward to seeing what Peca will do. But they aren’t the only ones excited for him. When asked about the upcoming season, Peca said:

"I’m really focused on having a good camp. I’m more focused than I’ve ever been. It’s going to be a big year to prove myself individually, kind of get my foot in the door and hopefully play a lot of NHL games. But, it’s also a big season for the Canadiens organization. I’m looking to be a part of the team, and I’m hoping that I can help them be successful this season."

Players with something to prove are usually the more interesting ones to watch. Peca will have that mindset heading into camp and seeing what he does with it will make training camp that more exciting.

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