One dream, one realistic, and one bargain player the Canadiens can sign in NHL free agency

The Montreal Canadiens could find a way to be active in NHL free agency, and maybe they will find a way to land a dream candidate.
Florida Panthers v Montreal Canadiens
Florida Panthers v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages
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Bargain Free Agent: Victor Olofsson, Buffalo Sabres

Victor Olofsson’s name might make you roll your eyes, but let’s remember something: The Canadiens aren’t planning on making it to the postseason this year, so I’m not proposing a player like Olofsson to clock in as a long-term fix. But what I like about him is the supplementation he can provide offensively as a stopgap. 

Olofsson may have garnered just 15 points and seven goals in 51 games for the Sabres, playing primarily as a fourth-liner, but this was a role different from what he played in the past. To make a long story short, Olofsson lost his place in the lineup because of an influx of young players and acquisitions, but for a team in building mode like the Habs, he would make a good one-year or even half-year fit at a low price. 

His time in Buffalo went better than you may think, as between 2021-22 and 2022-23, he had 89 points and 48 goals in 147 games, plus a 14.8 shooting percentage. Olofsson had his cold streaks, but when he was hot, there were even times when he saw first-line minutes. 

This isn’t saying he should supplant anyone on the first line or even on the top-six if he signed and enjoyed some success. But Olofsson makes for a good piece on the third line as a complementary scorer. Or, as he showed this past season in Buffalo, he can even take on a defensive forward role if necessary. 

He turned into a serviceable utility skater, one who from now until his time is up in the NHL could see him filling lineups as a one-year rental. If Olofsson signed with the Habs, he wouldn’t stay for longer than a year, but he’s a cost-effective asset who can provide serviceable play. 

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(Statistics powered by Hockey-Reference)