On the morning of July 4th, the Montreal Canadiens announced that they have signed defenseman Ben Chiarot to a three-year contract with an AAV of $3.5 million per year. Ben Chiarot tallied 5 goals and 15 assists for 20 points during the 2018-19 regular season.
Under the Radar Signing
At $3.5 million per year, it is hard seeing anything wrong with signing the 28-year old left-handed defenseman. Barring any future moves for a more high-end player, Chiarot can serve as a good second pairing or third pairing LD.
This signing may spark some debate about internal competition on the left side of the defense as Victor Mete and Ben Chiarot, along with Brett Kulak will compete for the top pairing spot aside Shea Weber.
When looking at point totals, the most obvious candidate is Ben Chiarot as he has the most points out of the three defensemen with 20. Brett Kulak was not trailing far behind with 17 points (6 goals, 11 assists) and Victor Mete had 13 points, all of them being assists.
However, Ben Chiarot would be best suited on the second pairing alongside Jeff Petry or on the third pairing next to whoever takes the RD spot.
Several others share the same opinion that Ben Chiarot is best suited on the second pairing and as TSN’s John Lu analyzes Chiarot’s game, one can see that he best suits the mold of a second pairing guy.
Is This Signing Enough?
If you want the short answer, no. While the Montreal Canadiens are getting good value in signing Ben Chiarot to a reasonable deal, the team still need a top-pairing LD that can play alongside Shea Weber for if not the entirety of the season, at least the majority.
If the Canadiens were to continue going the route of free agency, their best bet is defenseman Jake Gardiner but things have been quiet on his front. His back injury that he suffered earlier this season should also be of concern so dishing out a long-term deal may be very risky.
Marc Bergevin’s best bet for finding an LD should be going the trade route. Even after the Andrew Shaw trade, the Montreal Canadiens still have wingers they can move for help on the blue line.