It took a bit of time before Claude Julien put Christian Folin in the lineup but clearly, he made a positive impression. The Habs announced on Thursday that they signed the defenceman to a one-year, $800,000 contract extension. The deal ensures he’ll make the same amount he earned in 2018-19 though this time, Montreal will be responsible for the full portion.
Folin was acquired from Philadelphia back in February as part of a four-player trade with the Flyers that also saw Montreal get Dale Weise back while David Schlemko and Byron Froese head to Philadelphia. On the surface, it looked as if Folin would just serve as cheap depth for the stretch run but he wound up having much more of an impact than Weise did.
This past season, Folin played in 45 games between the Canadiens and Flyers, picking up six assists while averaging a respectable 15:40 of ice time, a new career high. He also brought a physical dimension to the back end, averaging a little over three hits per game with Montreal.
While he was a regular down the stretch, it’s far from a guarantee he’ll be one next season. Shea Weber and Jeff Petry are still under contract while a now-healthy Noah Juulsen will be in the mix as well. That could mean that Folin could be the seventh defender to start next season which wouldn’t be a bad outcome as that would allow them to send Josh Brook and Cale Fleury back to Laval to give them some more development time.
While Weise’s acquisition provided next to no impact as expected (which makes him a buyout candidate this summer), Folin has certainly made the trade a small win for the Habs. Schlemko was clearly out of the plans while Froese will be a free agent next summer. To get someone that’s capable of playing a serviceable role on the third pairing (and one that’s in the plans for next season) for two players on the outside looking in is never a bad thing, even if the gain is only incremental.