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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Zemgus Girgensons, Buffalo Sabres

Zemgus Girgensons is one of the more underrated players in the game, and he would fit perfectly into the Canadiens price range. The longtime Buffalo Sabre could also be keen to help oversee a rebuilding project, something he saw one too many of during his time with the Habs division rival. 

Overall, Girgensons would bring leadership and more than just a solid defensive effort to the Habs if Kent Hughes was interested in getting him to Quebec. He’s also someone who can supplement with scoring as a fourth-liner, and his experience playing for so many rebuilding teams would also help the Canadiens. 

So why is Girgensons on a list of free agents to avoid if he seems like the kind of player who looks like a good fit on the Habs lower lines? One reason is his age, as Girgensons will be entering his age-31 season and Hughes should be looking for younger players who he can sign to a cost-effective “prove-it” deal and see if they can stick around with the team for an extended period. 

There is always the chance that Girgensons will decline productivity-wise within the next few seasons, so there are better options to take fliers on. He can give a serviceable effort offensively and an outstanding one defensively, but unless Hughes is looking for strictly a stopgap, Girgensons isn’t the best option. 


(Statistics provided by Hockey-Reference)