While the Habs have added some AHL depth with the signings of Michael Chaput and Kenny Agostino, they have been quite active signing players to minor league deals as well.
First up was winger Alexandre Grenier, who signed a one-year AHL deal. The 26-year-old spent last season with Springfield of the AHL, scoring 20 goals while adding 24 assists in 72 games. He has put up at least 43 points in each of the last four seasons and should give the Rocket a legitimate top-six winger.
They have also signed former Blainville-Boisbriand winger Nikita Jevpalovs to a one-year, AHL contract. He spent last season with Dinamo Riga of the KHL, recording eight points in 46 games. This won’t be his first stint in the AHL as he spent 2015-16 and 2016-17 with San Jose’s affiliate. The 23-year-old will likely battle for a spot in Laval’s bottom six.
They’ve also added to their back end, inking Ryan Culkin to a one-year, two-way AHL/ECHL deal. The 24-year-old spent last season exclusively in the ECHL, recording 38 points in 53 games with Fort Wayne. He’ll likely be a call-up from wherever Montreal’s ECHL affiliate will be next season (if they wind up having one).
Meanwhile, rearguard Maxim Lamarche has inked a two-year, one-way AHL deal. The 25-year-old played in 50 games with Lehigh Valley (AHL) last season, recording seven points. Given the lack of depth on the right side that their back end has, he could potentially battle for a third pairing spot with the Rocket.
The fifth signing of the day is a familiar face in forward Alex Belzile. He briefly played for Montreal’s AHL affiliate in Hamilton in 2012-13 and has bounced around the minors since then. He spent last year with San Antonio of the AHL, scoring 14 goals while adding 20 assists in 61 games, all career highs. The 26-year-old will likely battle for a middle six spot in Laval’s lineup.