The Habs have added another blueliner to the fold, inking Mark Barberio to a one year, two-way contract. He will reportedly earn $600,000 in the NHL and $325,000 of guaranteed money. He spent the last two years with Tampa Bay but did not receive a qualifying offer earlier this week.
Last year was Barberio’s second straight full NHL season although much of it was spent as a healthy scratch. He suited up in 52 games for the Lightning, scoring a goal and adding six assists. He also played in one playoff game but was scratched the rest of the postseason.
Presumably, the Habs believe they can get the 25 year old Montreal native through waivers to the minors where he will likely replace Davis Drewiske, Hamilton’s top defender last season who signed with Philadelphia earlier in the day.
If he makes it there, he should a legitimate top pairing blueliner for the IceCaps. In his last AHL season (2012-13), he had 42 points in 73 games as well as 15 points in 18 postseason contests. The year before that, he totalled 61 points and won the Calder Cup (along with Montreal’s backup goalie Dustin Tokarski).
The signing gives the Habs 40 players under contract out of the limit of 50, not including the four players who are currently unrestricted free agents.