Top 5 defensemen the Canadiens should target in free agency

The Montreal Canadiens should have just enough cap space to ink a solid blueliner to a deal who would immediately upgrade the unit.
Philadelphia Flyers v Montreal Canadiens
Philadelphia Flyers v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages
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Erik Johnson would impress few fans, but he knows how to win

Let’s suppose someone like Martinez either won’t be available or would rather spend what could be the final season of his career with a contender, Erik Johnson, which is an incredible consolation. He, too, is a former champion, having helped the Colorado Avalanche take the Stanley Cup in 2022, and he would also bring leadership and factor in as an extra. 

The one downside with Johnson isn’t much different from that of the other players listed: He may want to keep playing, but only for a contender. It was supposed to be the case this season when he signed with the Buffalo Sabres, who underwhelmed and ultimately traded him to the Philadelphia Flyers. 

Unfortunately for Johnson, the Flyers downward spiral commenced shortly after he arrived and, he ultimately missed the playoffs. It would be hard to convince him to play in Montreal as the Canadiens are still building should he want to try his hand with another contender, but he’s a leader and would also factor in as a potential trade piece at the deadline. 

Overall, none of the names listed in this article will wow fans in the short run, but it’s all about finding stopgaps if Kent Hughes still wants to see his prospects on the blue line continue to develop in Laval. 


(Statistics provided by Hockey-Reference)