NHL free agency has just opened up, meaning free agents are free to sign contracts with any NHL team, and some teams have already gotten busy. The Canadiens are not expected to do much, although they did make a trade,moving out veteran defenseman Joel Edmundson to Washington. Still, the Canadiens choosing not to be all that active on this front is likely for the best.
In principle, signing free agents to your team to help contribute to more success is a very attractive option. After two miserable seasons, it’s not unreasonable to hope for improvement on that front, right? Well, recent history has shown that free agency is a very risky way to build a team, as the contracts handed out are often bloated and age very poorly. They usually end in buyouts or moving out assets just to get away from the contract.
For the Canadiens, despite not being a great team on the ice the last few years, they don’t have a ton of cap flexibility as it stands right now. Any guesses as to why? Adding more money on top of that just doesn’t make a ton of sense. The move would have to be perfect, the kind that you didn’t think would be possible. But after seeing what certain players are getting (Like Dmitry Orlov signing for $7.5 Million a Season!) I’m not certain that deal exists.
It just makes more sense to use free agency to fill in holes, specifically in Laval, as opposed to spending big and regretting it down the line. Sure, it’s not sexy, and it doesn’t move the needle very far, but it also doesn’t come with much risk. Sometimes in the NHL, you need to take risks, like moving out assets to acquire a young forward like Kirby Dach. But in free agency, the track record is so poor it seems wise to just avoid it if you can.
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