6 veteran free agents the Canadiens could potentially sign this summer

May 23 2023, 4:14 pm

While it’s gotten off to a slow start, the Montreal Canadiens’ offseason has the potential to heat up — especially with a big signing. And with a lot of veterans on the market, the young Habs roster may be looking to stock up on some experienced players.

While we’ve seen general manager Kent Hughes make a splash at the draft and on the trade market, he has yet to make any major deals via free agency. That could change this summer.

With some salary cap space to play with, the Canadiens have several realistic options to consider. This article will explore six potential UFA signings that could significantly impact the team’s success in the 2023-2024 season.

Alex Killorn

alex killorn

Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Age: 33
Last Contract: $4.45 million
2022-2023 Stats: 82 GP, 27 G, 37 A, 64 PTS

As a physical forward with scoring ability and leadership skills, Alex Killorn would bring a valuable presence to any team. Luckily for the Habs, the Halifax native attended Loyola High School in Montreal and played Lakeshore minor hockey. As a result, he might want to bring his talents to familiar territory.

The two-time Stanley Cup champion’s postseason experience makes him an ideal addition for future playoff runs while his power-forward style would enhance the Canadiens’ scoring depth.

Corey Perry

corey perry

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Age: 38
Last Contract: $2 million
2022-2023 Stats: 81 GP, 12 G, 13 A, 25 PTS

While he’s a menace to any opponent who shares the ice with him, Corey Perry was beloved by Habs fans during his brief stint with the team.

An integral part of the Canadiens’ 2021 playoff run, this veteran has proven to still have some gas in the tank, putting up a total of 65 points over his last two seasons with the Tampa Bay Lightning. And according to TVA Sports insider Renaud Lavoie, Perry regularly asks for updates on his former team, staying up to date on the state of the Habs organization.

Damon Severson

damon severson

Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

Age: 28
Last Contract: $4.1 million
2022-2023 Stats: 51 GP, 3 G, 12 A, 17 PTS

Damon Severson, a skilled defenceman, possesses the qualities that could greatly bolster Montreal’s blue line. Known for his strong defensive play, puck-moving ability, and offensive contributions, Severson brings a well-rounded skill set to any locker room. His ability to log significant ice time and contribute in all situations would greatly benefit the Canadiens’ defensive corps.

Most importantly, at 28, his best years are still ahead of him. Plus, he’s a right-handed shot, something else Montreal’s left-leaning top six could benefit from.

If the New Jersey Devils don’t offer him a new contract, Hughes should seriously consider pouncing on the opportunity.

Derick Brassard

derick brassard

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Age: 35
Last Contract: $750,000
2022-2023 Stats: 62 GP, 13 G, 10 A

If Montreal’s in the market for an affordable depth forward, Derick Brassard is their guy.

Brassard, a Gatineau native, is a versatile forward with extensive NHL experience. He’s known around the league for his offensive instincts, playmaking ability, and strong two-way game.

The veteran’s experience and leadership qualities would also be valuable assets, particularly for a team with young players looking to develop.

Phil Kessel

Phil Kessel

Stephen Brashear-USA TODAY Sports

Age: 35
Last Contract: $1.5 million
2022-2023 Stats: 82 GP, 14 G, 22 A, 36 PTS

While he’s not the prominent goal scorer he once was, Phil Kessel is still a positive addition to any lineup, especially one looking to add some experience and secondary scoring. He has the ability to bolster Montreal’s bottom six with some offence.

And as the NHL’s ironman streak leader, Kessel, a two-time Stanley Cup champion, playing 1,000+ games consecutively is a testament to his longevity and endurance.

Plus, he could be the missing piece that finally solves Montreal’s power play puzzle.

Max Pacioretty

Max Pacioretty

James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Age: 34
Last Contract: $7 million
2022-2023 Stats: 5 GP, 3 G, 0 A, 3 PTS

This one’s a bit of a long shot, given that Max Pacioretty, a former Canadiens captain, was traded to the Vegas Golden Knights for current Habs captain Nick Suzuki back in 2018.

But the front office that sent Patches packing all those years ago is now a brand new one. And if they’re interested in bringing someone over who knows the market well and can score 20 goals without hesitation, he’s a perfect fit.

While he would likely fall into the top-six, Pacioretty’s potential return to the Canadiens would likely see him taking on a less crucial role in the lineup, which, at this stage in his career, seems fitting.

The offensive forward only suited up for five games with the Carolina Hurricanes last season before succumbing to injury. If the Canes don’t want to risk giving him another contract, a team like Montreal just might.

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