Nicolas Deslauriers will be sticking around with the Habs for a little while yet as he has signed a two-year extension with a cap hit of $950,000. The deal represents a small raise over the $775,000 he has earned in each of the past two seasons.
Deslauriers came to Montreal in an early-season trade with Buffalo after he cleared waivers at the end of training camp. The Sabres received defenceman Zach Redmond in the swap.
The 26-year-old started the season with Laval in a middle-six role (with the exception of one game he played on defence) and picked up three goals and two assists in 14 games before being recalled back in mid-November.
Deslauriers made an immediate impression with his physicality while he even had a stretch where he was productive offensively. While that has tailed off recently (he has just a single point in his last dozen games), he has still been Montreal’s most physical forward and is among the league leaders in hits per game. (That said, the stat is somewhat skewed given the statisticians in Montreal’s penchant to award an excessive number of hits each game.) On the season, he has a career-high seven goals and three assists in 36 games with the Canadiens.
The contract ensures that Deslauriers will have a shot at a roster spot next season on the fourth line in a role similar to the one he has now. If he fails to make the team out of camp, however, the Habs can bury his contract in the minors without any lingering cap charge.
On a lighter note, this also may very well put an end to the ‘curse’ of the #20 sweater. Whoever has worn that number has typically been dealt within a year of their acquisition so this contract extension could put a stop to a trend that has lasted for the better part of a decade.