One pending unrestricted free agent the Canadiens can steal from each team in the Metropolitan Division

The Montreal Canadiens can improve their team with a few stopgaps if they look outside the Atlantic Division when free agency rolls around in July.
Carolina Hurricanes v Montreal Canadiens
Carolina Hurricanes v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages
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Erik Gustafsson would bring intrigue if the price was right

If he doesn’t seek a larger contract despite being over 30, Erik Gustafsson would provide a better stopgap than any other defenseman on this list. He’s given the bulk of his previous two teams 30 to 42 points a season, and as with Aho, he won’t be one to take time away from any younger blueliner seeking promotion to the big club. 

Best yet, Gustafsson would make perfect insurance if injuries hit the Habs defensive rotation hard, as he has played top-four minutes in recent stops. If he’s okay with heading to a team still in its building phase, Kent Hughes should reach out. 

Reuniting with Victor Mete may be a better option than you think

Victor Mete is another smallish blueliner, and he’s only seen ice time in 248 NHL games, with substantially more during his run with the Canadiens, in which he played in 185 contests and put up 34 points. Someone like Mete wouldn’t be a great fit for even a seventh blueliner, but his leadership would come in big in Laval. 

The former fourth-round pick has worn an ‘A’ patch numerous times since his days in junior hockey, and that was the case this past regular season with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. That said, if he signed with the Habs and returned to the organization, Mete would be a great leader for the youngsters playing for the Rocket.