3 pending free agent forwards the Canadiens must avoid in NHL free agency

Cost-effective free agents may be the types of players Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes will target in NHL free agency, and there are many to stay away from.
Montreal Canadiens v Edmonton Oilers
Montreal Canadiens v Edmonton Oilers / Lawrence Scott/GettyImages
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Kasperi Kapanen, St. Louis Blues

Kasperi Kapanen is coming off of his age-27 season, but his productivity has collectively fallen, so the only way Kent Hughes should be interested in signing someone like him is if Kapanen is okay with coming in on a cheap, “prove-it” deal. 

If this were the summer of 2023 and Kapanen were a free agent then, Hughes would have been wise to go for him. Coming off of the 2022-23 season, Kapanen logged just 13:41 of average total ice time, but he showed off an impressive array of physicality and scored 15 goals in 66 contests - 43 games with the Pittsburgh Penguins and 23 with the St. Louis Blues. Had he put up a similar performance this season, Kapanen would still be young enough to potentially join this young team for a few seasons and on a decent contract. 

But the consistency could have been way better, and the fact that it failed to show should be a major red flag for Hughes. Kapanen could sign with someone this summer and play the way he did in 2022-23, and that’s just fine. For a team in the Canadiens situation, however, he’s not worth the risk unless, as mentioned, it’s on a one-year deal.