Montreal Canadiens: The 2017 vs. 2018 Free Agency mentality

DETROIT, MI - APRIL 05: Montreal Canadiens defenseman Karl Alzner (22) looks on during a regular season NHL hockey game between the Montreal Canadiens and the Detroit Red Wings on April 5, 2018, at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - APRIL 05: Montreal Canadiens defenseman Karl Alzner (22) looks on during a regular season NHL hockey game between the Montreal Canadiens and the Detroit Red Wings on April 5, 2018, at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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Montreal Canadiens
LAVAL, QC – MARCH 07: (Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

AHL Depth Mark II

Laval’s season went in the complete opposite direction than many had hoped. With a new coaching staff in place highlighted by Jöel Bouchard and Alexandre Burrows and a boatload of prospects set to make their debut, the talent on the team should skyrocket.

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However, it’s not ideal to base the success of a team on names who have never been there. The likes of Alexandre Alain, Jake Evans, Lukas Vejdemo, and Will Bitten can become dominant forces in Laval at some point. But they’re going to need help and other plays to insulate their skills.

Another thing to keep in mind was the Rocket was losing a few of their key contributors in Chris Terry and Adam Cracknell. And thus the Montreal Canadiens moved to Phase II of the 2018 Free Agent Frenzy.

Kenny Agostino and Michael Chaput were signed to respective one and two-year deals. Agostino has been a top player on every AHL team he’s played for in his career. He’s aspiring to make an impact at training camp and perhaps challenge for a spot on the Habs, but odds are he starts his season in the minors.

To add-on to that, five other players were signed to AHL deals. The organization was going for depth and appear to have learned from their mistakes the year before. Players the Habs added to support the Laval Rocket ended up being called up to play in the NHL, and there wasn’t enough talent to properly re-fill those holes.

Next: Can Agostino Make the Team?

There are different ways to rationalize the plan of action between the two Free Agent Frenzies. As much as it could be about expectations heading into the following season, it could also be due to hopes for players within the organization. Montreal looks determined to rely on the grown talent within their system and take the necessary time to let them grow.